Skip to main content

Full text of "The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, 1745-1799; prepared under the direction of the United States George Washington Bicentennial Commission and published by authority of Congress"

See other formats

Library  of  the 

College  of  Liberal  Arts 

Boston  University 



Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 

in  2010  with  funding  from 

Boston  Library  Consortium  Member  Libraries 




y^/C-/  ?L&7'-4-*-fh+.+.      '=x/^    <   , 

■^^         <*„  0     *  *-  /     ^^ — 

^n_4j       JoJj^      ^-nsWZ       "T^rt-V       </*•«•<  <J*<>  "H+~sf~       t**,  66%*.  o^si*^,/      _ 

/t^   &    7ZT  /«-<**^ 

>*  <><-C  i,         »'       uMf<i-,r       4  .""    /•*«*<* 


,*-/£  «r£v  • /£  tL,-zz,  i  ,.,A;^  ,w-  ^/z*  ^w^^j 

^w  /y^  ^^  lt£  M> 

■x  $Q*  4^ 


Letter  from  the  Trustees  of  the  Alexandria  Academy,  Acknowledging 
Washington's  Endowment,  Dec.  17,  1785 




from  the 

Original  Manuscript  Sources 

Prepared  under  the  direction  of  the  United  States 

George  Washington  Bicentennial  Commission 

and  published  by  authority  of  Congress 

John  C.  Fitzpatrick,  Editor 

Volume  28 

December  5,  1784-August  30,  1786 

United  States 

Government  Printing  Office 



>W  3b,  W 

OCTOBER,  1938 


(The  Commission  expired  December  31,  1934) 

President  of  the  United  States 

Vice  President  of  the  United  States 
Speaker  of  the  House  of  Representatives 

United  States  Senate 

SlMEON  D.  Fess,*  Vice  Chairman 

Arthur  Capper 

Carter  Glass 

Millard  E.  Tydings 


House  of  Representatives 

Willis  C.  Hawley 

John  Q.  Tilson 

Joseph  W.  B  yrns  * 

R.  Walton  Moore 


Presidential  Commissioners 

Mrs.  Anthony  Wayne  Cook 

Mrs.  John  Dickinson  Sherman  * 

Henry  Ford 


George  Eastman  * 
New  York 

Executive  Committee 

The  Senate  and  House 

C.  Bascom  Slemp 
Mrs.  Anthony  Wayne  Cook 
Joseph  Scott 

C.  Bascom  Slemp 

Wallace  McCamant 

Albert  Bushnell  Hart 

Joseph  Scott 


Prof.  Albert  Bushnell  Hart 

Representative  Sol  Bloom 

Executive  Secretary 
William  Tyler  Page 

*  Deceased. 



Dr.  J.  Franklin  Jameson,  Chairman* 
Chair  of  American  History  and  Chief  of  Manuscripts  Division 
Library  of  Congress 

Professor  Randolph  G.  Adams 

Librarian  William  L.  Clements  Library 

University  of  Michigan 

President  J.  A.  C.  Chandler* 
William  and  Mary  College 

President  Tyler  Dennett 
Williams  College 

Dr.  Charles  Moore 
Chairman  United  States  Commission  of  Fine  Arts 

George  W.  Ochs-Oakes,  Esq.* 

Editor  New  York  Times 

Brigadier  General  John  M.  Palmer 
United  States  Army,  Retired 

Dr.  Victor  H.  Paltsits 

Chief  of  American  History  Division 

and  Chief  of  Manuscripts  Department 

New  York  Public  Library 

*  Deceased. 





To  Chevalier  de  La  Luzerne,  December  5  1 

Visit  to  France — Prospect  of  war  in  Europe — Treaty  with  the  Six 
Nations — Acknowledgments  to  the  King  and  Queen  of  France. 

To  Henry  Knox,  December  5 3 

Correspondence — Westward  tour — Potomac  and  James  Rivers  navi- 
gation— Treaty  with  the  Six  Nations — Lafayette's  departure. 

To  Governor  George  Clinton,  December  8    .     .     .     .  6 

Letters  from  France — Tree  seeds. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  December  8     ....     .  6 

Parting  from  Lafayette — Friendship. 

To  George  Plater,  Charles  Carroll,  John  Cadwalader, 

and  Samuel  Chase,  December  11 8 

A  nephew's  Principio  stock. 

To  George  Mason,  December  13 8 

A  loan  needed  by  his  brother. 

To  the  President  of  Congress,  December  14  ...  9 

Treaty  with  the  Six  Nations — His  election — British  retention  of  the 
western  posts — Navigation  of  the  Potomac  and  James  Rivers — Mine 
rights — Sale  of  western  lands. 

To  Richard  Claiborne,  December  15 12 

Unable  to  speculate  on  his  proposition  and  unwilling  to  mislead  by 
hazarding  an  opinion. 

To  George  Chapman,  December  15 13 

Sentiments  on  education. 

To  Thomas  Blackburn,  December  19 14 

Meeting  of  commissioners  at  Annapolis. 

To  Reverend  William  Gordon,  December  20  14 

Thanks  for  fish — Colonel  Ward's  passion. 

To  Lieutenant  Governor  Beverley  Randolph,  Decem- 
ber 20 15 

The  meeting  at  Annapolis. 

To  Melancton  Smith,  December  20 16 

Arrival  of  plated  ware — Account  with  Mr.  Parker. 



To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  December  23 17 

The  meeting  at  Annapolis — Lafayette  made  a  citizen  of  Maryland. 

To  James  Madison,  December  28 18 

Proceedings  of  the  Annapolis  commissioners — -Tolls  and  toll  rates — 
Lack  of  time  for  accomplishment. 

To  the  General  Assembly  of  the  Commonwealth  of  Vir- 
ginia, December  28 20 

Report  of  the  Annapolis  meeting  on  Potomac  navigation — Feeling  in 


To  Reverend  Jeremy  Belknap,  January  5 22 

His  history  of  New  Hampshire. 

To  the  Secretary  at  War,  January  5 23 

Correspondence — Feels  the  want  of  exercise — The  meeting  at  An- 
napolis— Private  adventurers  to  aid  in  the  Potomac  navigation — Intends 
to  build  at  Alexandria — -Asks  the  prices  of  limestone — Lafayette. 

To  Samuel  Chase,  January  5 26 

Forwarding  copies — Maryland  public  schools. 

To  George  Augustine  Washington,  January  6    .  27 

Sending  clothes — His  return — Lack  of  news — Seeds. 

To  Charles  Carroll,  of  Carrollton,  January  10     .     .     .        29 

Extension  of  Potomac  navigation. 

To  John  Filson,  January  15 30 

Map-  of  Kentucky — Map  of  the  western  territory — Potomac  naviga- 

To  Thomas  Johnson,  January  17 31 

Subscription  books  for  the  Potomac  navigation — James  River. 

To  Samuel  Chase,  January  17 32 

Passage  of  the  Potomac  Bill  by  the  Virginia  Legislature. 

To  John  Fitzgerald  and  William  Hartshorne,   Jan- 
uary 18 32 

Papers  of  the  Potomac  navigation — Printing  of  the  Virginia  act — 
General  arrangements. 

To  Benjamin  Harrison,  January  22 34 

The  gift  of  shares  by  the  Assembly  in  the  Potomac  and  James  Rivers 
companies — Grateful  for  the  proof  of  good  opinion  and  affection — ■ 
Wishes  his  actions  to  be  wholly  free  and  not  suspected  of  being  influ- 
enced by  other  motive  than  the  public  good — Shares  may  be  considered 
a  pension — Asks  for  advice. 



To  William  Grayson,  January  22 37 

Books  and  papers  of  the  Potomac  Company — Virginia's  gift  of  navi- 
gation shares — Doubt  of  how  it  will  be  considered — Asks  advice — 
Aspen,  yew,  and  hemlock  shoots. 

To  Bushrod  Washington,  January  22 38 

Payment  of  Ryan's  note — An  ordinance  of  1776. 

To  Matthew  Campbell,  January  22 39 

Plaster  of  Paris — Purchase  price. 

To  Thomas  Clarke,  January  25 40 

Thanks  for  a  gold-headed  cane. 

To  Sir  James  Jay,  January  25 41 

Lady  Huntingdon's  communications — Christianizing  the  Indians — 
Method — Her  plan  will  be  sent  to  the  President  of  Congress. 

To  Mrs.  Patience  Wright,  January  30 44 

Her  letter — Pier  son's  bust. 

To  Joseph  Wright,  January  30 45 

Receipt  of  the  bust. 

To  iEneas  Lamont,  January  31 45 

Dedication  of  his  works — Is  not  a  marshal  of  France. 

To  Elias  Boudinot,  January  31 46 

Orchard  grass  seed. 

To  Governor  William  Paca,  January  31 46 

Forwarding  a  copy  of  the  printed  act  of  Virginia  respecting  the 
Potomac  navigation. 

To  Udny  Hay,  January  31    ...  47 

Sends  a  certificate. 

To  Robert  Morris,  February  1 48 

Opening  the  Potomac  and  James  Rivers  navigation — Toll  charges — 
Morris's  subscription — The  Potomac  navigation  and  that  of  the  Sus- 
quehanna— Commerce  with  the  west — Transportation  charges. 

To  Clement  Biddle,  February  1 55 

Orchard  grass  seed — Dunlap  and  Claypoole's  papers — Need  of  a 
miller — A  business  matter. 

To  Robert  Lewis  &  Sons,  February  1 57 

A  drunken  miller — -Need  of  a  competent  one. 

To  Clement  Biddle,  February  2 58 

Answer  to  a  letter. 

To  Otho  Holland  Williams,  February  2 59 

Expense  of  Cincinnati  diplomas. 



Agreement  with  Benjamin  Dulany  and  Wife,  Febru- 
ary 4    60 

To  Battaile  Muse,  February  5 62 

Whiting's  bonds — Payment  of  taxes  by  tenants. 

To  Benjamin  Vaughan,  February  5 62 

Dr.  Price's  commendation — The  chimney  piece  from  his  father. 

To  Samuel  Vaughan,  February  5 63 

The  chimney  piece. 

To  Benjamin  Lincoln,  February  5 64 

Mr.  Porter — Cheese  and  cranberries — Potomac  navigation. 

To  David  Humphreys,  February  7 65 

Letters  that  must  be  written — Health — Potomac  and  James  Rivers 
navigation — War  in  Europe — Letters  from  Humphreys. 

To  the  President  of  Congress,  February  8 67 

Assemblies  of  Virginia  and  Maryland  pass  acts  for  inland  naviga- 
tion— The  scheme  of  the  Countess  of  Huntingdon — Refers  the  papers 
to  him,  and  gives  his  own  views — Temporary  and  permanent  seat  of 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  February  15 71 

Navigation  of  the  Potomac  and  James  Rivers — Virginia  Legislature's 
gift  embarrassing — Subscriptions — Need  of  an  engineer — Canals — 
Jackass  from  Spain — Seeds  from  Kentucky — Livingston's  cipher — 
French  subscribers. 

To  Charles  Lee,  February  20 76 

French's  and  Dulany's  land — Changes  suggested  in  the  convey- 
ance— The  deed. 

To  Thomas  Jefferson,  February  25 77 

Acts  of  Virginia  and  Maryland  for  the  Potomac  navigation — Sub- 
scriptions— Value  as  an  investment — Foreign  subscribers — Embarrass- 
ing act  of  the  Virginia  Legislature — Asks  advice. 

To  George  William  Fairfax,  February  27 81 

Lady  Huntingdon's  letter — Case  of  Mrs.  Briston — Wishes  he  and 
Mrs.  Fairfax  would  return  to  Virginia — Belvoir — Present  drudgery — 
Accounts — Potomac  and  James  Rivers  navigation  acts — Embarrassing 
act  of  the  Virginia  Legislature — Wishes  deer. 

To  the  Countess  of  Huntingdon,  February  27     .     .     .        86 

Delay  of  her  letters — Her  plan  for  introducing  religion  among  the 
Indians — Lands  for  emigrants. 

To  Governor  Patrick  Henry,  February  27    ...  89 

Act  of  the  legislature  presenting  shares  in  the  Potomac  and  James 
Rivers  companies — Embarrassment — Asks  Henry's  opinion. 



To  Mrs.  Hannah  Moore,  February  28 91 

Mrs.  Savage's  will. 

To  Henry  Knox,  February  28 91 

Introductory  letters  for  Mr.  Swan — Finances  not  equal  to  building 
in  Alexandria — Limestone — Potomac  and  James  Rivers  navigation — 
Embarrassing  gift  of  the  Virginia  Legislature — British  and  the  St. 
Croix  River — Composition  for  walks. 

To  James  Keith,  March  1 94 

His  court-martial  sentence. 

To  Charles  Mclver,  March  1 95 

His  plan. 

To  Reverend  William  Gordon,  March  8 96 

Miniature  cuts — Du  Simitiere's  likenesses — Col.  John  Laurens's  char- 
acter— Recollection  of  the  surrender  of  Fort  Washington — Preserva- 
tion of  young  plants — War  between  the  Austrians  and  Dutch. 

To  Reverend  John  Witherspoon,  March  8     .     .     .  98 

Mr.  Bowie's  wish  to  write  Washington's  memoirs — Condition  of  his 

To  John  Filson,  March  15 100 

Map  of  Kentucky. 

To  Mrs.  Sarah  Bomford,  March  15 101 

Mrs.  Savage's  will — Hannah  Moore — Doctor  Savage. 

To  Mathew  Carey,  March  15 103 

His  newspaper. 

To  Frederick  Weissenfels,  March  15    .     .     .     .  .       104 

Pain  that  deserving  officers  are  not  provided  for — Certificate. 

To  Jacob  Gerhard  Diriks,  March  15 105 

Inability  to  write  a  letter  to  Count  de  Maasdam — Certificate. 

To  Arthur  Lee,  March  15 106 

Treaty  with  the  western  Indians — Ceded  lands. 

To  Hugh  Williamson,  March  15 107 

Rumsey's  boat — The  Indian  treaty  and  ceded  lands — Compact  and 
progressive  seating  of  them — Marking  off  a  new  State. 

To  the  President  of  Congress,  March  15 108 

The  Indian  treaty — Progressive  seating  of  the  ceded  lands — Navi- 
gation of  the  Mississippi. 

To  Edmund  Randolph,  March  19 109 

Ryan's  note. 



To  John  Har vie,  March  19 no 

Ejectment  of  tenants  on  Pennsylvania  land — Information  of  legal 
status  desired — Colonel  Crawford's  proceedings — Title — Question  of 

To  Sir  Edward  Newenham,  March  20 115 

His  coming  to  America — Roads  in  the  south — Transportation. 

To  John  Francis  Mercer,  March  27 117 

Financial  straits — Requests  money  due  from  his  father's  estate. 

To  John  Craig,  March  29 118 

Value  of  land  in  the  Monongahela  country. 

To  Lucretia  Wilhemina  Van  Winter,  March  30  ...       119 

Her  poem — Has  been  only  an  instrument  in  the  hands  of  Providence. 

To  Bushrod  Washington,  April  3 120 

Has  written  to  the  Attorney  General  about  Ryan's  note — Dismal 
Swamp  meeting. 

To  Charles  Thomson,  April  5 121 

Report  of  the  Commissioners  supervising  the  British  embarkation 
at  New  York. 

To  Governor  George  Clinton,  April  5 122 

Delay  in  obtaining  a  bill  of  exchange. 

To  Christopher  Richmond,  April  6 123 

Difference  in  audit  of  his  Continental  certificates. 

To  James  Duane,  April  10 123 

Rutgers  versus  Waddington — Evils  of  local  and  independent  poli- 
cies— The  5  percent  impost — Personals. 

To  James  Duane,  April  10 125 

Freedom  of  the  city  of  New  York. 

To  the  Mayor,  Recorder,  Aldermen,  and  Commonalty 

of  the  City  of  New  York,  April  10     ...  126 

To  Doctor  John  Walker,  April  10 127 

Meeting  of  the  Dismal  Swamp  Company. 

To  Thomas  Freeman,  April  11 128 

Wishes  a  detail  of  his  proceedings — Persons  with  knowledge  of 
Colonel  Crawford's  proceedings. 

To  Robert  Lewis  &  Sons,  April  12 129 

Joseph  Davenport's  terms  as  a  miller — Roberts — The  mill. 

To  Daniel  of  St.  Thomas  Jenifer,  April  12     ...  130 

Payment  of  certificates — The  bill  of  exchange. 



To  Charles  Washington,  April  12 131 

Irregularity  of  the  post — Mr.  Balch's  letter — School  expenses. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  April  12 132 

Mr.  Duche — His  chances  of  employment. 

To  Governor  George  Clinton,  April  20 133 

Delay  in  writing — Sends  a  second  bill  of  exchange — State  of  the 
account — Oriskany  purchase — Lime  trees,  nuts,  etc. — Balm  and  pines — ■ 
Loss  of  vines — Potomac  and  James  Rivers  navigation. 

To  Mathew  Carey,  April  20 136 

Willingness  to  render  a  service. 

To  William  Grayson,  April  25 136 

Consideration  of  his  letter — Report  of  the  committee  of  Congress 
on  the  disposal  of  the  western  lands — Chances  of  stock  jobbing  in 
township  sales — Other  observations. 

To  Chevalier  de  La  Serre,  May  12 139 

Accident  to  his  letter — His  request  for  a  recommendation. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  May  12 140 

Chevalier  de  La  Serre. 

To  Francis  Hopkinson,  May  16 140 

At  the  beck  of  portrait  painters — Mr.  Pine. 

To  Clement  Biddle,  May  16 141 

His  failure — Trouble  caused  by  Washington's  commissions — Grass 
seeds  and  miller — Dunlap  and  Claypoole's  gazettes — Payment  of  his 

To  Thomas  McKean,  May  16 142 

Mr.  Pine. 

To  Governor  William  Paca,  May  18 143 

Introducing  Mr.  Pine. 

To  Christopher  Richmond,  May  19     .....      .       143 

Subscription  books  of  the  Potomac  Company. 

To  Nathanael  Greene,  May  20 144 

Approves  his  declining  a  duel  with  Gunn — Greene's  affair  with 
Banks — Back  lands — Intelligence  from  Europe — Subscriptions  to  the 
Potomac  Company — Virginia's  gift  of  shares. 

To  William  Fitzhugh,  May  21 146 

Mr.  Boulton  to  finish  the  large  room — Turpentine,  etc. — Offers  the 
service  of  his  jacks. 

To  Jacquelin  Ambler,  May  22 148 

Subscriptions  to  the  Potomac  Company. 



To  Tench  Tilghman,  May  23 148 

Colvill's  legacy  to  Miss  Anderson — Confused  condition  of  Washing- 
ton's papers — Applications  made  to  him — Efforts  to  get  a  secretary — 
Reverend  Mr.  West — Needs  pine  plank. 

To  John  Swan,  May  23 150 

Colonel  Colvill's  estate — His  recollection. 

To  Burwell  Bassett,  May  23 151 

Disappointed  in  not  seeing  him  in  Richmond — Return  of  George 
Augustine  Washington — His  attentions  to  Fanny  Bassett — Washing- 
ton's attitude. 

To  Governor  David  Parry,  May  25 153 

Thanks  for  kindness  shown  his  nephew. 

To  Robert  Lewis  &  Sons,  May  25 153 

Discharge  of  William  Roberts — Delay  in  Davenport's  coming. 

To  William  Minor,  May  27 154 

His  charges  for  what  was  not  done  in  the  schooling  of  Lawrence 

To  John  Har vie,  May  31 155 

Claim  of  the  heirs  of  Michael  Cresap  to  the  Round  Bottom — Pro- 
tests against  the  issue  of  a  patent. 

To  Tench  Tilghman,  June  2 157 

Mr  Falconer's  terms — Need  for  a  secretary — What  is  expected  of  one. 

To  David  Stuart,  June  5 159 

Invitation  to  dinner. 

To  James  Rumsey,  June  5 159 

Ryan's  debt — The  house  building  at  Bath — Rumsey's  boat — Potomac 

To  William  Carmichael,  June  10 160 

Spanish  jackasses — British  trade  restrictions. 

To  William  Goddard,  June  11 162 

Publication  of  the  manuscripts  of  General  Lee — Washington's  dif- 
ference was  on  public,  not  private,  grounds — Will  not  recriminate. 

To  Edmund  Richards,  June  15 163 

His  inquiry. 

To  Samuel  Powel,  June  15 163 

Doctor  Moyes — Wishes  information  of  an  author. 

To  Robert  Howe,  June  15 164 

Pleased  at  Congress  dealing  honorably  by  Howe. 



To  William  Minor,  June  16 165 

Lawrence  Posey's  school  expenses — General  Roberdeau  as  umpire. 

To  the  Secretary  at  War,  June  18 166 

Congratulations  upon  his  appointment  as  Secretary  at  War — Knox's 
sentiment  on  the  gift  of  the  Potomac  and  James  Rivers  shares — Con- 
gress and  the  western  posts — Suggestions  for  depositories — Distribution 
of  troops. 

To  Barbe  Marbois,  June  21 169 

De  Corny's  bill — Navigation  of  the  Mississippi. 

To  John  Rumney,  June  22 170 

A  joiner — Flagstone  ordered — Stowage  care  needed. 

To  William  Grayson,  June  22 172 

Congress  and  sale  of  the  western  lands — The  permanent  seat  of 
government — Soldiers  should  receive  what  is  their  due — Potomac 
Navigation  Company. 

To  the  President  of  Congress,  June  22 173 

The  ordinance  for  sale  of  lands  in  the  western  territory — The 
Macaulay  Grahams — Inadequacy  of  the  powers  of  Congress. 

To  Richard  Boulton,  June  24 175 

His  creditors — His  delay — Injuries  sustained. 

To  Governor  Patrick  Henry,  June  24 176 

Sunken  lands  of  Albermarle  Sound — Unable  to  increase  his  expenses 
at  this  time. 

To  Thomas  Montgomerie,  June  25 177 

Qualifications  of  the  assistant  wanted — Mr.  Shaw. 

To  Reverend  Stephen  Bloomer  Balch,  June  26    .     .     .      178 

Nephews  wish  to  attend  a  Georgetown  dancing  school. 

To  Thomas  Montgomerie,  June  30 178 

Mr.  Shaw's  expectations — Term  of  service. 

To  the  Countess  of  Huntingdon,  June  30 180 

Her  request  for  western  lands  for  emigrants. 

To  William  Washington,  June  30 181 

Thanks  for  kindness  to  his  nephew — Acorns,  nuts,  etc. 

To  William  Blake,  June  30 182 

Seeds  of  the  palmetto  royal. 

To  George  William  Fairfax,  June  30 182 

Copies  of  receipts — Pictures  and  Mr.  Pine — Disposition  of  the  Brit- 
ish court — Commercial  policy  of  Great  Britain — Likely  to  unite  the 
States — Potomac  navigation — Wishes  to  improve  his  methods  of  farm- 
ing, and  would  like  to  obtain  an  English  farmer — Personal  mentions. 



To  Charles  Vancouver,  June  30 188 

Declines  his  dedication. 

To  James  Rumsey,  July  2 188 

Handbill  of  the  Potomac  Company — Mentioned  his  name  to  the 
company  as  manager  of  construction. 

To  Robert  Hanson  Harrison,  July  3 190 

Reason  for  not  appointing  Mr.  Brisco. 

To  William  Shaw,  July  8 190 

His  terms  of  pay  accepted. 

To  Thomas  Corbin,  July  8 191 

Colonel  Fairfax's  letter — Invitation  to  Mount  Vernon. 

To  the  President  of  Congress,  July  9 192 

Introducing  Mr.  Dorham. 

To  Thomas  Smith,  July  14 192 

Proclamation — Posey's  bond — Act  of  Virginia  Assembly — Survey  of 
land — Crawford's  proceedings — Mr.  Wilson's  readiness  to  serve. 

To  Alexander  White,  July  14 196 

Fraunces's  letters — His  demand  against  General  Lee's  estate. 

To  William  Fitzhugh,  July  14 197 

Richard  Boulton — Payment  for  lock,  glue,  etc. — Guinea  grass  seed. 

To  Israel  Shreve,  July  15 199 

Ohio  and  Kanawha  lands — Terms. 

To  Tench  Tilghman,  July  17 199 

Payment  for  plank — Papers  in  the  Pennsylvania  land  suit. 

To  Samuel  Powel,  July  19 200 

Election  to  the  Agricultural  Society. 

To  George  Weedon,  July  23 .      .       201 

Bill  of  exchange — Colonel  de  Corny. 

To  David  Humphreys,  July  25  .  .  202 

His  letters — Wishes  to  see  the  plague  of  war  banished  from  the 
earth — Has  neither  talents  nor  leisure  to  write  commentaries  on 
the  Revolution — Humphreys's  qualifications — Domestic  intelligence — 
Inland  navigation  schemes — Mississippi  and  the  Ohio. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  July  25 205 

Correspondence — Increase  and  multiply — Progress  of  the  Potomac 
navigation — Commercial  policy  of  Great  Britain  towards  America — ■ 
Results  in  the  States — Ordinance  for  disposing  of  lands  in  the  western 
territory — The  Spanish  jacks  from  Cadiz  and  Malta  and  French 
hounds — Seeds  from  the  west  for  Versailles — Marriage  of  George  Au- 
gustine Washington,  and  Francis  Bassett — Picture  of  the  Lafayette 



To  Clement  Biddle,  July  27 211 

Money  from  Gilbert  Simpson — Work  on  the  Potomac  navigation. 

To  Battaile  Muse,  July  28 212 

Leases  in  Frederick  County — Mr.  Snickers  promises — Accounts  ar- 

To  Edmund  Randolph,  July  30 214 

Disposition  that  will  be  made  of  the  shares  voted  him  by  the  As- 
sembly— Probable  interpretations  of  his  conduct — The  James  River 

To  Noah  Webster,  July  30 216 

Letters  of  recommendation. 

To  William  Bailey,  August  2    ........  217 

Articles  for  George  and  Lawrence  Washington. 

To  John  Sedgwick,  August  8 217 

No  writ  has  issued  against  the  executors  of  the  estate  of  Sedgwick's 
father — Payment  of  bonds. 

To  Edmund  Randolph,  August  13 218 

The  Potomac  and  James  Rivers  improvements — Wishes  them  to  pro- 
gress equally — His  subscriptions — Presidency  of  the  James  Company — 
Claim  against  his  western  lands — Expectations. 

To  The  Sheriff  of  Hampshire  County,  August  15    .     .      221 

The  widow  of  Michael  Cresap. 

To  Benjamin  Ogle,  August  17 221 

Offer  of  fawns. 

To  Clement  Biddle,  August  17 .      222 

Money  for  Mr.  Boudinot — A  housekeeper. 

To  Tench  Tilghman,  August  17 223 

Ship  from  China — Purchase  of  articles — Cincinnati  china — Nan- 

To  Thomas  Ridout,  August  20 224 

Wine  and  sundries — Letters  and  packages. 

To  Jean  Baptiste,  Baron  de  Secondat,  August  20  .  225 

Wine  and  walnuts. 

To  Baron  de  Montesquieu,  August  20 226 

Invitation  to  visit. 

To Van  Drillon,  August  22 226 

Admission  to  the  Society  of  the  Cincinnati. 



To  James  McHenry,  August  22 227 

Lafayette's  character — The  Longchamp  case — The  powers  of  Con- 
gress— Reasons  for  increasing  them — Policy  of  the  southern  mem- 
bers— Unreasonable  jealousies — A  war  of  imposts — A  navigation  act — 
One  nation  today  and  thirteen  tomorrow. 

To  the  President  of  Congress,  August  22 230 

La  Barbier's  drama — European  intelligence — Great  Britain  and  the 
western  posts — Navigation  of  the  Mississippi — No  cement  to  the  union 
but  interest — Paper  money  in  Virginia. 

To  William  Grayson,  August  22 232 

Hounds  from  Lafayette — Jefferson's  ideas  on  coinage — Always  a 
friend  to  adequate  congressional  powers — The  ordinance  for  the  sale 
of  western  lands — Potomac  navigation  work. 

To  Battaile  Muse,  August  22 235 

Clover  seed — Wheat  and  the  purchase  price — Alexandria  price — 

To  John  Rawlins,  August  29     ........      237 

Finish  of  a  new  room. 

To  Tench  Tilghman,  August  29 238 

Bargains  desired — Jaconette  muslin — Chinese — Papers  sent  Smith — 
Rawlins's  ability. 

To  Arthur  St.  Clair,  August  31 239 

The  change  in  the  institution  of  the  Cincinnati — Happy  over  St. 
Clair's  appointment. 

To  Doctor  John  Cochran,  August  31 240 

His  care  of  the  hounds — His  request  for  a  recommendation. 

To  Reverend  William  Gordon,  August  31     ....      241 

Forwards  memoir  from  a  Member  of  Congress — Lafayette. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  September  1 242 

Good  wishes — Mr.  Adams  and  the  British  retention  of  the  western 
posts — Hounds — Marquis  de  St.  Simon  and  the  Cincinnati — The  Span- 
ish jacks — Copies  of  Lafayette's  letters — Potomac  work  commenced. 

To  Marie  Gabriel  Eleanor,  Comte  d'Oilliamson,  Sep- 
tember 1 245 

Thanks  for  hounds. 

To  David  Humphreys,  September  1 246 

Indians — Congress,  coinage,  and  corn — Medal. 

To  Lamar,  Hill,  Bissett  &  Co 247 

Madeira  shipment. 



To  Thomas  Newton,  Junior,  September  3     .     .     .     .      248 

Confused  condition  of  his  papers — Statement  of  the  account  be- 
tween them — Drought — Debt  due  from  Balfour  &  Baran. 

To  Chevalier  de  La  Luzerne,  September  5    .     .     .     .      250 

Effort  of  mercantile  interests  to  give  controlling  power  to  Congress — 
Great  Britain's  restraint  of  trade — Disposal  of  the  western  lands — 
Indian  treaty — Coinage — Situation  in  Europe. 

To  David  Henley,  September  5 252 

Their  charge  for  servants'  clothing. 

To  Marquis  de  Chastellux,  September  5 253 

Compliments — Pleasure  at  the  prospects  of  European  peace — Po- 
tomac and  James  Rivers  navigation. 

To  Comte  de  Rochambeau,  September  7 255 

The  French  Cincinnati — Rural  amusements — American  affairs. 

To  Clement  Biddle,  September  7 256 

Need  of  a  steward — Mr.  Fraunces. 

To  Samuel  Fraunces,  September  7 257 

Need  of  a  steward. 

To  John  de  Neufville,  September  8 258 

Reported  desire  to  obtain  a  loan  for  the  Dismal  Swamp  Com- 
pany— Money  and  labor  needed. 

To  Governor  Patrick  Henry,  September  10    ...  260 

An  appointment  to  the  Potomac  Company 

To  Thomas  Johnson  and  Thomas  Sim  Lee,  Septem- 
ber 10  .     .     . .     .      260 

Purchase  of  servants  for  the  Potomac  Company — Work  at  Seneca 
and  Shenandoah. 

To  Thomas  Smith,  September  10 261 

The  Ohio  lands — Washington's  tide — Report  that  the  defendants 
are  moving  off  the  land. 

To  William  Hartshorne,  September  14 263 

Colonel  Fitzhugh's  subscription. 

To  Tench  Tilghman,  September  14 263 

Arrival  of  Mr.  Rawlins — Muslin  for  Mrs.  Washington. 

To  Edmund  Randolph,  September  16 264 

Declines  the  presidency  of  the  James  River  Company — Surveys  be- 
tween the  James  and  Kanawha — Hire  of  slaves  and  an  engineer — 
Plans  of  the  Potomac  Company — Results  of  Rumsey's  discovery — 
Locks — Cost  of  miners — Subscriptions  for  the  James  River  project. 



To  Battaile  Muse,  September  18 267 

Inattention  to  tenants — The  situation — Thompson's  lease — Advan- 
tage taken — Power  of  attorney. 

Power  of  Attorney,  September  18 270 

To  Levi  Hollingsworth,  September  20 271 

His  letter — Mud  as  manure — Donaldson's  hippopotamus. 

To  Thomas  Freeman,  September  22 272 

Lease  for  Jonathan  Johnson. 

To  Captain  de  Genevy  de  Pusignan,  September  25  .  273 

Inability  to  comply  with  his  request  in  regard  to  the  Cincinnati. 

To  J.  L.  Le  Barbier,  Junior,  September  25 274 

His  drama. 

To  Benjamin  Franklin,  September  25 274 

His  return  to  America. 

To  Barbe  Marbois,  September  25 275 

Congratulations  on  his  appointment. 

To  Otho  Holland  Williams,  September  25 .....      .       275 

Miscarriage  of  Cincinnati  diplomas. 

To  Vicomte  D'Arrot,  September  25 276 

His  letter — British  continuing  to  hold  the  western  posts. 

To  Jean  Antoine  Houdon,  September  26 277 

His  arrival- — Will  be  glad  to  see  him  at  Mount  Vernon. 

To  Thomas  Jefferson,  September  26 278 

Houdon — Subscriptions  to  the  Potomac  and  James  Rivers  compa- 
nies-— Dismal  Swamp  surveys — Disposition  of  his  Potomac  and  James 
shares — Kentucky — Bushnell's  torpedo  in  1776. 

To  Richard  Varick,  September  26 281 

Rutgars  versus  Waddington — Varick's  health. 

To  Benjamin  Franklin,  September  26 282 

Houdon's  arrival. 

To  the  Secretary  for  Foreign  Affairs,  September  27  .  283 

His  return — Appointment  as  Secretary  for  Foreign  Affairs. 

To  Jonathan  Trumbull,  October  1 283 

Death  of  his  father — Sympathy. 

To  George  Mason,  October  3 285 

The  assessment  bill  in  the  Virginia  Assembly. 



To  John  Page,  October  3 286 

Friendship — Importation  of  Germans — Loan  for  the  Potomac  Com- 
pany in  Holland. 

To  Lucretia  Wilhemina  Van  Winter,  October  5  .      .      .       287 

Miscarriage  of  his  letter. 

To  Charles  Armand-Tufnn,  October  7 288 

His  prospect  of  a  command — Tranquillity  in  America — Is  against 
the  profession  of  arms. 

To  James  Warren,  October  7 289 

Friendship — Weakness  of  the  Confederation — -Refusal  to  give  power 
to  government — Prospects — Foreign  commerce — Trade — An  agricul- 
tural society — Potomac  and  James  Rivers  navigation. 

To  Thomas  and  Mrs.  Blackburn,  October  10  .      .      .      .       292 

A  wedding  invitation. 

To  Thomas  Freeman,  October  16 292 

Ohio  and  Kanawha  lands — The  mill  and  Mr.  Simpson — At  a  loss 
to  decide  if  Simpson  has  moved — -Captain  Crawford — Baggage — 
Statement  of  account. 

To  Arthur  Donaldson,  October  16 296 

His  hippopotamus. 

Certificate  to  John  Fairfax,  October  26 296 

To  John  Fairfax,  October  26 297 

Instruction  for  a  journey  to  Boston  to  bring  back  the  Spanish  jack- 

To  Lieutenant  Governor  Thomas  Cushing,  October  27  .       300 

Mr.  Fairfax  to  bring  the  Spanish  jackasses  to  Mount  Vernon. 

To  Governor  Patrick  Henry,  October  29 302 

Appointment  of  Colonel  Neville — Cut  between  Elizabeth  River  and 
North  Carolina  waters. 

To  James  Madison,  October  29 302 

Thanks  for  his  management  of  the  gift  of  navigation  shares — Will 
thank  him  for  further  information. 

To  Governor  Patrick  Henry,  October  29 303 

Thanks  to  the  Assembly  for  the  Potomac  and  James  shares — His 
uniform  policy  not  to  receive  pecuniary  recompense  for  public  service — 
Wishes  to  be  allowed  to  apply  the  shares  to  some  object  of  a  public 

To  David  Humphreys,  October  30  . 305 

Houdon's  mission — Poem — Lassitude  in  government. 



To  George  Gilpin,  November  i 306 

His  scow. 

To  Samuel  Powel,  November  2 306 

Cape  of  Good  Hope  wheat. 

To  Edmund  Randolph,  November  5 307 

Proceedings  of  the  Potomac  Company  sent  him. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  November  8 308 

Houdon's  stay — Doctor  Franklin — Copying  of  Lafayette's  letters. 

To  George  Chapman,  November  10 309 

Need  of  a  tutor  for  his  step  grandchildren — Terms,  etc. 

To  George  William  Fairfax,  November  10    ...     .      310 

Education  of  the  Custis  children — A  preceptor  wanted — Require- 
ments and  wages — Gentlemen  of  the  cloth — Progress  of  the  naviga- 
tion companies — His  wish  for  a  trained  farmer — Fairfax's  estate. 

To  William  Fitzhugh,  November  11 314 


To  George  William  Fairfax,  November  11    ....      314 

A  tutor  from  New  England. 

To  John  Marsden  Pintard,  November  18 315 

Citron,  lemons,  and  onions. 

To  Charles  Vaughan,  November  18 316 

Rum — Sends  flour. 

To  John  Rumney,  November  18 317 

Selection  of  flagstones — House  joiner. 

To  Lund  Washington,  November  20 318 

The  plans  of  George  Augustine  Washington — Overseer  at  Mount 
Vernon — A  grateful  sense  of  his  services. 

To  Reverend  Stephen  Bloomer  Balch,  November  22  319 

Expense  of  his  nephews  in  Georgetown — Bills  for  board,  etc. — 
Nephews  brought  to  Alexandria. 

To  William  Bailey,  November  22 320 

Removal  of  his  nephews  to  Alexandria — Expense. 

To  Mrs.  Daniel  Dulany,  November  23 320 

Present  of  the  horse  "Blueskin." 

To  Doctor  William  Brown,  November  24     ...  321 

Formation  of  the  Alexandria  Academy — A  future  matter. 



To  Sir  Edward  Newenham,  November  25     ...  322 

Ireland's  opposition  to  British  restrictions — Precedents  are  dangerous 
things — Situation  in  Ireland — Danger  of  an  aerial  voyage — Mr.  Thorpe, 
the  stucco  worker. 

To  Lawrence  Kortright,  November  25 324 

Impress  of  vessels  in  1776 — The  sloop  Hester. 

To  Chevalier  John  Paul  Jones,  November  25  .     .  .      325 

Captains  Stack  and  Macarthy  and  the  Cincinnati. 

To  Wakelin  Welch,  November  28 326 

Watch  for  Mrs.  Washington. 

To  Samuel  Vaughan,  November  30 326 

Mirabeau's  pamphlet  on  the  Cincinnati — Purpose  of  the  Society — 
Rum  for  Jamaica. 

To  David  Stuart,  November  30 328 

Commerce  powers  of  Congress — Separation  of  eastern  and  western 
Virginia — Other  matters — Canal  at  Great  Falls. 

To  Tench  Tilghman,  November  30 330 

Mr.  Rawlins  and  the  new  room — Cost — Only  one  jackass  survived 
the  voyage  from  Spain. 

To  John  Rawlins,  November  30 332 

Cost  of  his  plan  exceeds  his  expectation — Work  to  be  done. 

To  Governor  Patrick  Henry,  November  30   ...  333 

The  cut  from  Elizabeth  River  to  Albemarle  Sound — The  Dismal 
Swamp — Potomac  and  James  Rivers  navigation — Cost  of  road  work. 

To  James  Madison,  November  30 335 

Revision  of  the  laws — Reference  to  Congress  of  the  regulation  of 
a  commercial  system — Public  faith — Port  and  assize  bills — Pennsyl- 
vania and  internal  improvements. 

To  Comte  de  Rochambeau,  December  1 338 

Friendship — Franklin's  election  to  Governor — State  of  affairs — 
Commercial  treaty  with  Great  Britain. 

To  Charles  Simms  and  David  Stuart,  December  3    .  339 

Petition  of  the  Potomac  Company. 

To  Charles  Carroll  and  Thomas  Stone,  December  3  .  340 

Petition  of  the  Potomac  Company. 

To  Battaile  Muse,  December  4 341 

Collection  of  rents. 

To  Comte  de  Damas,  December  5 342 




To  Louis  Guillaume  Otto,  December  5 342 


To  Richard  Thomas,  December  5 343 

Edmund  Richards  under  a  delusion. 

To  Louis  Dominique  Ethis  de  Corny,  December  5   .     .      344 

Receipt  and  lack  of  Cincinnati  diplomas. 

To  Reverend  William  Gordon,  December  5  ....      344 

The  memoir — Lafayette  at  Barren  Hill — -Troop  movements — Pres- 
ent of  a  fish  and  flower  roots. 

To  Thomas  Smith,  December  7 346 

Trespass  actions  and  ejectments — Has  not  viewed  the  defendants  as 
wilful  and  obstinate  sinners. 

To  Captain  Thomas  Bibby,  December  10 347 

Invitation  to  Mount  Vernon. 

To  David  Stuart,  December  10 348 

Purchase  of  corn  necessary — Prices  on  the  Eastern  Shore  or  in  New 
Kent  and  King  William. 

To  Clement  Biddle,  December  11 349 

Payment  for  Cary's  and  Oswald's  newspapers — Sheet  copper. 

To  the  Secretary  at  War,  December  11 350 

British  retention  of  the  western  posts — The  Society  of  the  Cincin- 
nati— Limestone. 

To  Alexander  Hamilton,  December  11 351 

Prejudice  against  the  Cincinnati  carried  to  an  unreasonable  length — 
Fears  of  the  people  not  yet  removed — Baron  Steuben. 

To  Battaile  Muse,  December  16 353 

Tenant  accounts — Rents — Neglect  experienced — Payments — Vacant 
lots — Advertisement — Lots  on  Chattins  Run — Wheat  agreement. 

To  the  Trustees  of  the  Alexandria  Academy,  Decem- 
ber 17 356 

His  intentions  to  endow  a  school  in  Alexandria  for  orphan  chil- 
dren— Offers  an  annuity — Suggestions  on  its  application. 

To  Noah  Webster,  December  18    .     .  .     .     .     .      358 

His  offer — Education  of  the  children,  aid  in  correspondence  and 
keeping  accounts — Sketches  of  American  policy. 

To  Benjamin  Harrison,  December  18 359 

Act  of  the  General  Assembly  permitting  disposal  of  the  donated 
navigation  stock. 



Pass  for  Pedro  Tellez,  December  19 359 

To  Count  Florida  Blanca,  December  19 360 

Thanks  to  the  King  for  the  Spanish  jackasses. 

To  Francisco  Rendon,  December  19 360 

Return  of  Pedro  Tellez — His  journey  to  New  York. 

To  William  Carmichael,  December  19 362 

His  thanks  for  the  Spanish  jackass — Pedro  Tellez. 

To  John  Francis  Mercer,  December  20 362 

His  delay  in  payment — Washington's  want  of  money. 

To  Lund  Washington,  December  20 363 

George  Augustine  Washington — The  mill — Taxes. 

To  Thomas  Johnson,  December  20 364 

Potomac  Company  business — Hire  of  Negroes  and  purchase  of  serv- 
ants— Spanish  chestnuts. 

To  David  Stuart,  December  24 366 

Oats  contract — Interest  on  loan  certificates. 

To  Samuel  Powel,  December  27 367 

Requests  agricultural  information. 


To  Battaile  Muse,  January  5 367 

Isaac  Jenny's  land  on  Chattin's  Run — Boundaries — Landon  Carter 
and  the  Ashby's  Bent  land — Clover  seed — Butter. 

To  Tench  Tilghman,  January  7 369 

Agrees  to  Rawlins's  terms  to  finish  the  new  room. 

To  Catherine  Macaulay  Graham,  January  10    .  370 

Flattered  by  her  letter — Pier  journey  to  New  York. 

To  James  Mercer,  January  20 371 

Courses  of  lots — Doctor  Gordon's  advertisement. 

To  Diego  de  Gardoqui,  January  20  .     .  372 


To  John  Francis  Mercer,  January  30 373 

Payment — Mr.  Pine. 

To  James  Rumsey,  January  31 374 

His  mechanical  boat — Houses  at  Bath. 



To  Battaile  Muse,  February  4 375 

Butter — Indulgence  to  tenants — Abner  Grigg  and  others — Jenny's 
lines — Clover  seed — Fauquier  rents — Muse's  powers  to  act. 

To  David  Stuart,  February  5 378 

Oats — Corn  from  York  River. 

To  Benjamin  Lincoln,  February  6 379 

The  fitness  of  Mr.  Lear — Duties  to  be  performed  by  him — Fresh 
water  from  salt. 

To  William  Lyles&  Co.,  February  8 380 

A  she  ass  from  Surinam — Flour,  etc.,  in  payment. 

To  George  Savage,  February  8 381 

Oats — Corn  from  Pamunky. 

To  William  Lyles  &  Co.,  February  10 382 

A  she  ass  from  Surinam — Mr.  Branden. 

To  Samuel  Branden,  February  10 382 

A  jackass  from  Spain — Purchase  of  a  she  ass  in  Surinam — Flour 
in  payment. 

To  Clement  Biddle,  February  10 383 

Boots,  shoes,  and  other  articles  desired — Payment  for  gazettes. 

To  William  Hartshorne,  February  20 384 

Payment  of  transportation  charges  for  the  Spanish  jackass — Captain 
Pearce's  charge. 

To  Robert  Townsend  Hooe,  February  21      ....      386 

Misunderstanding  over  employing  hands  to  drain  the  Great  Dismal 

To  Robert  Edge  Pine,  February  26 386 

Portraits  received. 

To  Joseph  Hawkins,  February  27 387 

Mr.  Booth's  character. 

To  William  Hunter,  February  27 388 

Money  for  Mr.  Pine. 

To  Governor  Patrick  Henry,  March  5 388 

Declination  of  felons  by  the  Potomac  Company. 

To  John  Francis  Mercer,  March  6 389 

Payment  to  bearer. 

To  John  Murray  &  Co.,  March  8 389 

Contract  for  herrings. 



To  Battaile  Muse,  March  8 390 

Impartial  justice  to  tenants— Other  rental  matters — Collection  of 
certain  accounts. 

To  Hugh  Holmes,  March  10 391 

Naming  his  child  after  Washington. 

To  Samuel  Purviance,  March  10 392 

The  settlements  on  the  Kanawha — Navigation  of  the  stream — Con- 
venient points  of  settlement — Political  consequences— Nature  of  the 
soil — Importance  of  the  Great  Kanhawa  River. 

To  William  Drayton,  March  25 394 

Honor  conferred  by  the  South  Carolina  Agricultural  Society. 

To  John  Augustine  Washington,  March  27    ...  395 

His  overseer's  apprehensions — Absentee  tenants — Corn. 

To  Sir  Edward  Newenham,  March  30 396 

Expectation  of  his  visit. 

To  John  Fitzgerald  and  George  Gilpin,  March  31    .     .      397 

Brindley  and  Harris  view  the  Great  Falls — Suggestions — A  profes- 
sional mail  much  wanted — Mr.  Brindley  may  be  available. 

To  Reverend  Timothy  Dwight,  April  1 399 

Thanks  for  his  poem,  "Conquest  of  Canaan." 

To  Lieutenant  Governor  Thomas  Gushing,  April  5  .  399 

Obligation  for  his  attention  to  the  Spanish  jack — The  expense. 

To  Charles  Carroll,  Robert  Morris,  and  Samuel  Powel, 

April  5 400 

Rev.  David  Griffith's  wish  to  borrow. 

To  Henry  Lee,  April  5 401 

Correspondence — Progress  of  canal  and  locks  at  the  Great  Falls — 
Success  assured— Conduct  of  the  States — The  Jay-Littlepage  pamphlet. 

To  David  Ramsay,  April  5 403 

Thanks  for  his  history  of  the  Revolution  in  South  Carolina. 

To  Thomas  Newton,  Junior,  April  9 403 

Wine  received — State  of  the  account — Flour  sale  at  Norfolk. 

To  Benjamin  Lincoln,  April  10 405 

Agreement  with  Mr.  Lear. 

To  William  Washington,  April  10 405 

Acorns  and  young  trees — Palmetto  seeds. 

To  Jonathan  Trumbull,  April  10 406 

His  contemplated  tour — -Acknowledgment  for  Mr.  Dwight. 



To  Robert  Morris,  April  12 407 

The  Philadelphia  Quakers  and  their  attempt  to  free  Mr.  Dalby's 
slave — Mischievous  and  illegal  conduct  of  their  society — He  is  himself 
strong  in  favor  of  abolishing  slavery — Oppressive  features  of  the  anti- 
slavery  movement. 

To  Bushrod  Washington,  April  13 409 

Use  of  "Royal  Gift." 

To  Noah  Webster,  April  17 409 

Instructor  for  the  children. 

To  John  Armistead,  April  17 410 

Payment  of  a  debt — Washington's  need  of  money. 

To  William  Hartshorne,  April  19 410 

Seeds,  buckwheat  and  flaxseed. 

To  Reverend  William  Gordon,  April  20 411 

Lund  Washington's  retirement — Subscriptions  to  Gordon's  history. 

To  Benjamin  Lincoln,  April  20 412 

Doctor  Gordon's  subscription  paper. 

To  Thomas  Brereton,  April  20  . 413 

Mrs.  Savage's  estate. 

To  Martin  Cockburn,  May  3 414 

Truro  taxables — A  Negro  tailor. 

To  Thomas  Smith,  May  8 414 

Valentine  Crawford's  debt. 

To  Thomas  Cresap,  May  8 415 

Is  not  a  member  of  the  Ohio  Company. 

To  Thomas  Freeman,  May  8 415 

Sale  of  Mrs.  Crawford's  Negroes. 

To  Marquis  de  St.  Simon,  May  10 416 

His  membership  in  the  Cincinnati. 

To  Thomas  Ringgold  Tilghman,  May  10    .     .  .      417 

Discharge  of  the  debt  to  his  brother — Regard  for  his  brother. 

To  Marchionesse  de  Lafayette,  May  10 417 

Delay  in  receipt  of  her  letter — Tokens  of  regard  from  the  young 

To  Reverend  Joseph  Eckley,  May  10 419 

The  Boston  Independent  Chronicle  and  Doctor  Gordon. 



To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  May  10 420 

Lafayette's  European  tour — Policy  of  Great  Britain  towards  the 
States — People  must  feel  before  they  will  see — Impost  and  commercial 
regulation — A  proposed  meeting  of  commissioners  from  the  States — 
General  convention  talked  of — British  occupation  of  the  western  ports — 
The  Maltese  and  Spanish  jacks — Philanthropic  scheme  of  the  marquis 
and  his  Cayenne  estate — Abolition  of  slavery  in  the  States — Jefferson — 
Invitation  to  America. 

To  Battaile  Muse,  May  12 425 

Loss  by  delay  of  his  wheat. 

To  John  Rumney,  May  15 426 

Receipt  of  flagstones. 

To  William  Frisbie  Fitzhugh,  May  15 426 

The  Spanish  jack — Sheep. 

To  George  Taylor,  Junior,  May  18 427 

Apples  and  oysters. 

To  Robert  Lewis  &  Sons,  May  18 428 

Miller  Davenport — Roberts  and  liquor. 

To  Clement  Biddle,  May  18 428 

Seeds — Young's  works — A  debt — Lewis  &  Sons  account — Gazettes — 
Glass  and  linen. 

To  the  Secretary  for  Foreign  Affairs,  May  18  .     .     .     .      430 

The  Littlepage  controversy — Errors  to  be  corrected  in  the  national 
government — More  wickedness  than  ignorance  in  our  councils — Igno- 
rance and  design  difficult  to  combat — Public  virtue  has  departed. 

To  Neil  Jamieson,  May  20 432 

Debt  due  for  flour. 

To  John  Marsden  Pintard,  May  20  ......     .      433 

Vine  slips — Negotiations  with  Morocco. 

To  Thomas  Ridout,  May  20      . 433 

Wine — Poor  quality  claret. 

To  Henry  L.  Charton,  May  20 .     .      434 

Description  of  his  Ohio  and  Kanawha  lands — Terms  upon  which 
he  would  sell. 

To  Governor  William  Moultrie,  May  25 439 

Mr.  Brindley's  services — Canals — A  French  engineer. 

To  Samuel  Powel,  May  25 441 

Farmyard  essay — Premium  for  the  best  barnyard. 

To  Alexander  Steel,  May  25 442 

Doctor  Shiell — Steel's  war  services. 



To  Joseph  Jones,  May  25 443 

Meeting  of  the  Assembly. 

To  Thomas  Newton,  Junior,  May  26 443 

Flour  sent. 

To  Joseph  Brown,  May  30 444 

Arrival  of  prints. 

Agreement  with  James  Bloxham,  May  31      .  .     .      444 

As  farmer  and  manager. 

To  the  Secretary  at  War,  June  1 447 

Inability  to  speak  with  precision  on  a  Cincinnati  matter — Major 
L'Enfant's  proceedings. 

To  Mrs.  Mary  Briston,  June  2 448 

Her  petition. 

To  Thomas  Ringgold  Tilghman,  June  4 449 

His  offer  of  services. 

To  Daniel  of  St.  Thomas  Jenifer,  June  4 449 

His  report. 

To  James  Tilghman,  June  5 450 

Death  of  Tench  Tilghman — His  correspondence  with  the  New 
York  committee — Sympathy  for  Asgill's  position — Falsity  of  the  gibbet 
story — Asgill  defective  in  politeness. 

To  John  Rumney,  June  5 453 

Cost  of  the  flagstones. 

To  John  Fitzgerald,  June  5 453 

Purchase  of  servants  for  the  Potomac  Company. 

To  William  Frisbie  Fitzhugh,  June  5 454 

Purchase  of  ewe  lambs — The  Spanish  jack. 

To  Benjamin  Lincoln,  June  7 454 

Bill  of  exchange  for  Doctor  Gordon — Mr.  Lear's  arrival. 

To  Thomas  Bedwell,  June  7 455 

A  recommendation  to  South  Carolina. 

To  Charles  Mclver,  June  7 456 

Declines  recommending  him. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  June  8 456 

Hams  sent  to  Madame  Lafayette. 

To  Sir  Edward  Newenham,  June  10 457 

State  of  America — His  visit — Tharp  and  Rawlins. 



To  Governor  William  Moultrie,  June  14 458 

Mr.  Brindley. 

To  Henry  Lee,  June  18 459 

Arthur  Young's  observations  on  husbandry — Rains — Indian  corn — 
Navigation  of  the  Mississippi — Questions  prematurely  urging  opening 
of  the  navigation. 

To  Mrs.  Sampson  Darrell,  June  18 461 

Title  to  Hite's  land — Requests  a  search  for  Hite's  bond. 

To  Pierre  Francois  Cozette,  June  19 462 

Declines  a  painting  of  Louis  XV. 

To  Nicholas  Pike,  June  20 463 

Satisfaction  felt  at  the  progress  of  the  arts  and  sciences  but  must 
decline  the  dedication  proposed. 

To  David  Humphreys,  June  20 464 

His  return  to  America — No  need  for  horses. 

To  Clement  Biddle,  June  21 464 

Delay  of  his  letter — Sends  a  copy. 

To  Joseph  Dashiell,  June  21 465 

Post  and  rails — Cypress  wanted. 

To  Thornton  Washington,  June  22 466 

Tide  to  Hite's  land. 

To  George  William  Fairfax,  June  26 467 

Letters — Mr.  Pine's  success — English  deer — Seeds  and  shrubs  from 
Mrs.  Fairfax — James  Bloxham — Letters  of  introduction. 

To  Richard  Sprigg,  June  28 470 

A  puppy  and  grass  seeds — His  jenny. 

To  Doctor  William  Brown,  June  30 471 

Boys  and  girls  at  the  Alexandria  Academy. 

To  George  William  Fairfax,  June  30  .     .     .     .     .     .      471 

Lack  of  leisure — Report  on  the  trust  committed  to  him  from  1773 — 
Details — Balance — Belvoir  fire — Furniture — Record  of  letters. 

To  Battaile  Muse,  July  i 478 

Worth  of  flour. 

To  William  Frisbie  Fitzhugh,  July  2 478 

Horse  and  jackass  breeding — Magnolio — Ewe  lambs — Barley. 

To  Thomas  Johnson,  July  8 480 

Date  of  meeting  of  the  Potomac  Company. 



To  Edmund  Randolph,  July  12 480 

Daughters  of  Michael  Cresap. 

To  James  Tilghman,  July  20 481 

The  Asgill  affair — Col.  Thomas  Colville's  estate — Miss  Anderson. 

To  Henry  L.  Charton,  July  22  .  482 

Drafts  showing  the  shape  of  his  land  tracts. 

To  Battaile  Muse,  July  25 483 

Seed  wheat. 

To  Henry  Lee,  July  26 483 

Books  received — Cincinnati  china  on  sale  at  New  York — Navigation 
of  the  Mississippi — General  Greene's  death. 

To  William  Grayson,  July  26 485 

Small  attendance  in  Congress,  and  its  cause — Connecticut  claims  to 
western  lands — The  land  ordinance — Infraction  of  the  treaty  by  the 
States — The  British  and  the  western  posts. 

To  Mauduit  Du  Plessis,  July  28 487 

His  merits — Invitation  to  Mount  Vernon. 

To  Thomas  Smith,  July  28 488 

Occupants  of  land  in  Washington  County — People's  attitude — Suit 
against  squatters — Posey's  warrant — Records. 

To  Clement  Biddle,  July  30 491 

Loss  through  depreciation — Leather  for  Negroes'  shoes. 

To  Comte  de  Rochambeau,  July  31 492 

His  letters — Cessation  of  wars — Treaty  with  Prussia — British  con- 
tinue to  hold  the  western  posts. 

To  Due  de  Lauzun,  July  31 494 

Mr.  Michau's  visit  to  America. 

To  Baron  de  Holkendorfr",  July  31 494 

Can  have  no  agency  in  matters  of  a  public  nature — Admittance  to 
the  Cincinnati. 

To  Antoine  Felix  Wuibert  de  Mezieres,  July  31  .     .     .      495 

Regret  at  not  being  able  to  promote  individual  interests  of  die 
Army — Payment  of  his  certificates — Engineer  corps. 

To  Wakelin  Welch,  July 496 

Directs  sale  of  bank  stock — Interest  on  funds — Only  desires  equal 
treatment  with  others — Debts  and  the  war. 

To  Battaile  Muse,  August  i 498 

Advertisement  sent  to  the  printer — Flour — Hite's  claim — Colonel 
Fairfax's  land  papers — Seed. 



To  Chevalier  de  la  Luzerne,  August  i 499 

Conduct  of  the  States — Impost  granted — Conditions — Unfavorable 
picture  of  America  current  in  Europe — The  attitude  of  the  British — 
Advantage  to  France. 

To  the  Secretary  for  Foreign  Affairs,  August  1   .     .     .      501 

Violation  of  the  treaty — Work  for  the  future — The  fear  of  investing 
Congress  with  adequate  powers — Requisitions  a  farce — Tendency  to 
monarchical  government — His  own  interest  in  public  affairs — Neglect 
of  his  recommendations. 

To  Thomas  Jefferson,  August  1 504 

Costume  of  Houdon's  statue — Domestic  intelligence — Deaths  of 
Greene,  McDougall,  and  Tilghman. 

To  Thomas  Marsden  Pintard,  August  2 506 

Loss  of  articles — Wine  from  Searle  &  Co. 

To  Lamar,  Hill,  Bissett  &  Co.,  August  3 507 

Madeira  wine. 

To  Wakelin  Welch,  August  5 507 

Shipment  of  articles  of  husbandry. 

To  Wakelin  Welch,  August  5 508 

Articles  to  be  shipped. 

To  William  Peacey,  August  5 509 

Letters  from  James  Bloxham — His  wife,  plows,  etc.,  to  be  sent  over. 

To  Arthur  Young,  August  6 510 

Opening  a  correspondence — Agriculture  a  favorite  amusement — 
System  in  the  United  States — Young's  Annals — Plows  and  seeds  de- 
sired— Plowman's  wages — A  bailiff  obtained. 

To  Charles  Armand-Tuffin,  August  10 514 

His  marriage — The  visit  to  Europe. 

To  John  Francis  Mercer,  August  12 515 

Suit  on  bonds — Tobacco  bill — Want  of  money. 

To  Theodorick  Bland,  August  15 516 

His  humorous  account — Humphreys's  poem — American  agricul- 
ture— Paper  currency. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  August  15 518 

Irksome  nature  of  Washington's  correspondence — Nations  governed 
by  interest — Mutual  interests  of  America  and  France — Basis  of  a  com- 
merce between  the  two  countries — The  arrogant  expectations  of  Brit- 
ain— Quality  and  prices  of  French  goods — General  reflections  on  com- 
merce— Late  treaties  favor  a  liberal  policy — Personal  mentions. 



To  Marquis  de  Chastellux,  August  18  .     .     .     .     .      .      522 

Thanks  for  his  "Travels" — Mention  of  Washington — Humphreys's 
poem — Conditions  in  America. 

To  Metcalf  Bowler,  August  19 524 

His  treatise  on  agriculture. 

To  Thomas  Newton,  Junior,  August  19 524 

Sale  of  flour. 

To  Thomas  Hutchins,  August  20 525 

Empress  of  Russia's  desire  to  obtain  an  Indian  vocabulary. 

To  the  Secretary  at  War,  August  21 526 

Forwards  a  petition. 

To  Jonathan  Loring  Austin,  August  23 526 

His  July  4  oration. 

To  Reverend  John  Witherspoon,  August  23  ...  526 

Pohick  church  and  Mr.  Wilson. 

To  James  Hill,  August  29 527 

His  delay  in  sending  his  accounts — Thomas  Newton's  account — Ne- 
cessity of  receiving  his  accounts. 

To  Diego  de  Gardoqui,  August  30 528 

Vicuna  wool — -Jackass  from  the  King. 


The  following  symbols  have  been  used  to  denote  the  place  of 
deposit  of  Washington  letters  not  found  in  draft  or  letter-book 
form  in  the  Washington  Papers  in  the  Library  of  Congress: 

Indicating  that  the  letter  is  in  Washington's 

own  handwriting  * 

Chicago  Historical  Society  [ CH.  H.  S. ] 

Clements  Library,  University  of  Michigan  r  C.  L.  ] 

Connecticut  Historical  Society  [  C.  H.  S.  ] 

Harvard  College  Library  [  HV.  L.  ] 

Haverford  College  [  HD.  C.  ] 

Historical  Society  of  Pennsylvania  [H.  S.  P.] 

Huntington  Library  [  H.  L.  ] 

John  Carter  Brown  Library,  Rhode  Island  [J.  C.  B.] 

Maine  Historical  Society  [M.  H.  S.] 

Maryland  Historical  Society  [MD.  H.  S.] 

Massachusetts  Historical  Society  [MS.  H.  S.] 

J.  P.  Morgan  Library  [M.  L.] 

New  Hampshire  Historical  Society  [  N.  H.  H.  S. ] 

New  York  Historical  Society  [N.Y.H.S.] 

New  York  Public  Library  [  N.  Y.  P.  L.  ] 

New  York  State  Library  [  N.  Y.  S.  L.  ] 

Rhode  Island  Historical  Society  [ R.  I.  H.  S. ] 

Rhode  Island  Society  of  the  Cincinnati  [R.I.S.C] 

Society  of  the  Cincinnati  [ S.  C. ] 

University  of  Chicago  Library  [  U.  C.  L.  ] 

University  of  Pennsylvania  Library  [U.P.] 

Virginia  Historical  Society  [  V.  H.  S. ] 

Virginia  State  Library  [  V.  S.  L.  ] 





Mount  Vernon,  December  5, 1784. 

Sir:  Your  early  attention  to  me  after  your  arrival  at  the  Court 
of  Versailles,  amidst  scenes  of  gaiety  and  the  gratulations  of 
friends,  does  me  great  honor,  and  excites  my  warmest  acknowl- 
edgments. That  your  august  Sovereign,  his  amiable  consort, 
and  the  Princes  his  brothers,  should  deign  to  interest  themselves 
in,  and  wish  to  be  acquainted  with  the  circumstances  of  my  life, 
is  one  of  the  most  flattering  incidents  of  it;  and  affects  my  sensi- 
bility beyond  any  expression  I  have  of  my  feelings.  If  any  thing 
could  overcome  the  present  difficulties  which  impede  my  de- 
sires to  pay  my  respectful  homage  at  your  Court,  it  would  be 
the  wish  which  you  say  these  august  personages  have  been 
pleased  to  express  to  see  me  there,  and  the  welcome  reception  I 
should  meet  from  the  nation  at  large,  especially  from  those 
characters  to  whom  I  have  the  honor  of  a  personal  acquaint- 
ance; but  I  fear  my  vows  and  earnest  wishes  are  the  only  trib- 
ute of  respect  I  shall  ever  have  it  in  my  power  to  offer  them  in 

It  gave  me  great  pleasure  to  learn  from  your  letter  (of  the 
12th.  of  Septr.)  that  the  sword  which  had  been  so  lately 
sheathed,  was  likely  to  remain  in  the  scabbard  for  some  time, 
other  information  according  with  appearances,  seem  rather  to 
indicate  an  approaching  storm  in  the  United  Netherlands; 
8701  1 


which,  in  its  consequences,  might  touch  the  torch,  which  would 
kindle  the  flames  of  a  general  War  in  Europe.  How  far  British 
policy  may  yield  to  Irish  claims,  is  not  for  me  to  determine. 
The  first,  it  should  seem,  have  had  too  much  of  civil  conten- 
tions to  engage,  without  some  respite,  in  fresh  broils;  and  the 
other  is  too  near,  and  too  much  divided  among  themselves,  to 
oppose  effectually  without  foreign  aid,  especially  maritime. 
But  I  know  not  enough  of  their  politic's,  or  their  expectations, 
to  hazard  an  opinion  respecting  the  issue  of  their  disputes. 
That  they  slumbered  during  the  favourable  moment,  none  I 
think  can  deny,  and  favourable  moments  in  war,  as  in  love, 
once  lost  are  seldom  regained. 

We  have  lately  held  a  treaty  with  the  Six  Nations  at  Fort 
Stanwix,  advantageously  it  is  said  for  the  United  States,  tho' 
the  issue  of  it  is  not  pleasing  to  that  of  New  York.  The  Com- 
missioners were  by  the  last  accounts,  proceeding  via  Fort  Pitt, 
to  Cayahoga  to  a  Meeting  of  the  Western  Tribes,  who  every 
now  and  then  have  bickerings  with  our  Settlers  on  the  Ohio, 
in  which  lives  and  property  have  been  lost.  At  the  eclairisse- 
ment  which  is  about  to  be  had  with  them,  it  is  to  be  hoped  a 
proper  understanding  will  take  place,  the  cause  of  discontent 
removed,  and  peace  and  amity  perfectly  reestablished. 

The  honor  of  your  correspondence  I  shall  ever  set  a  high 
value  upon,  and  shall  thank  you  for  the  continuation  of  it;  the 
occurences  of  Europe  cannot  come  thro'  a  better  informed 
channel,  nor  from  a  more  pleasing  pen.  Such  returns  as  can 
flow  from  the  cottage  of  retirement,  I  will  make  you:  these  in- 
deed will  be  inadequate;  but  to  a  mind  generous  as  yours  is, 
there  is  more  pleasure  in  conferring  than  in  receiving  an 

If  Sir,  the  name  of  your  Sovereign  has  been  committed  to 
your  letter  by  his  approbation  or  authority,  you  will  know  how 

1784]  TOUR  TO  THE  WEST  3 

far  my  respectful  acknowledgments  are  due,  and  can  be  offered 
with  propriety.  I  wish  not  to  obtrude  myself;  nor  to  step  over 
that  line  which  custom  has  drawn,  altho'  feeling  more  respect 
and  veneration  for  the  King  and  Queen  of  France  than  I  have 
powers  to  utter,  I  should  in  that  case  rest  more  on  your  abilities 
and  their  goodness  to  disclose  them,  than  upon  my  own  faint 
endeavours.  To  the  military  characters  with  whom  I  have  the 
honor  of  an  acquaintance,  I  present  my  best  wishes  and  affec- 
tionate regards;  at  the  same  time  that  I  never  can  too  often 
repeat  to  you  the  assurances  of  the  esteem  and  attachment  with 
which  I  have  the  honor,  etc.1 


Mount  Vernon,  December  5, 1784. 

My  Dr.  Sir:  Apologies  are  idle  things:  I  will  not  trouble  you 
with  them;  that  I  am  your  debtor  in  the  epistolary  way  I  ac- 
knowledge, and  that  appearances  indicate  a  disposition  to 
remain  so,  I  cannot  deny;  but  I  have  neither  the  inclination  nor 
the  effrontery  to  follow  the  example  of  great  men  or  St — s  to 
withhold  payment  altogether.  To  whatever  other  causes  there- 
fore my  silence  may  be  attributed,  ascribe  it  not,  I  beseech  you 
to  want  of  friendship,  for  in  this,  neither  time  nor  absence  can 
occasion  a  diminution;  and  I  regret  that  fortune  has  placed  us 
in  different  States  and  distant  climes,  where  an  interchange  of 
sentiments  can  only  be  by  letter. 

When  your  letter  of  the  26th.  of  July  came  here,  I  was  upon 
the  eve  of  a  tour  to  the  Westward  which  ended  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  Fort  Pit,  altho'  my  original  plan  took  in  the  Great 
Kanhawa.  I  found  from  information,  that  the  Indians  were  in 
too  discontented  a  mood  to  render  it  prudent  for  me  to  run  the 

1From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


risk  of  insult:  to  see  the  condition  of  the  property  I  had  in  that 
Country,  and  the  quality  of  my  Lands,  were  all  the  objects 
I  had  in  view.  Those  in  the  vicinity  of  Fort  Pitt  (for  which  I 
have  had  patents  more  than  ten  years)  I  found  in  possession 
of  people  who  set  me  at  defiance,  under  the  claim  of  pre- 
occupancy.  Another  year,  and  I  may  find  the  rest  seized  under 
the  like  pretext;  but  as  the  land  cannot  be  removed,  altho'  the 
property  may  be  changed,  I  thought  it  better  to  return,  than  to 
make  a  bad  matter  worse  by  hazarding  abuse  from  the  Savages 
of  the  Country. 

I  am  now  endeavoring  to  stimulate  my  Countrymen  to  the 
extension  of  the  inland  navigation  of  the  rivers  Potomac  and 
James,  thereby,  and  a  short  land  transportation,  to  connect  the 
Western  Territory  by  strong  commercial  bands  with  this.  I 
hope  I  shall  succeed,  more  on  account  of  its  political  impor- 
tance than  the  commercial  advantages  which  would  result 
from  it,  altho'  the  latter  is  an  immense  object:  for  if  this  Coun- 
try, which  will  settle  faster  than  any  other  ever  did  (and  chiefly 
by  foreigners  who  can  have  no  particular  predilection  for  us), 
cannot,  by  an  easy  communication  be  drawn  this  way,  but  are 
suffered  to  form  commercial  intercourses  (which  lead  we  all 
know  to  others)  with  the  Spaniards  on  their  right  and  rear,  or 
the  British  on  their  left,  they  will  become  a  distinct  people  from 
us,  have  different  views,  different  interests,  and  instead  of  add- 
ing strength  to  the  Union,  may  in  case  of  a  rupture  with  either 
of  those  powers,  be  a  formidable  and  dangerous  neighbour. 

After  much  time  spent  (charity  directs  us  to  suppose  in  duly 
considering  the  matter)  a  treaty  has  at  length  been  held  with 
the  Six  Nations  at  Fort  Stanwix:  much  to  the  advantage  it  is 
said  of  the  United  States,  but  to  the  great  disgust  of  that  of  New 
York:  fruitlessly,  it  is  added  by  some,  who  assert  that  the  Dep- 
uties on  the  part  of  the  Indians  were  not  properly  authorized  to 


treat.  How  true  this  may  be,  I  will  not  pretend  to  decide;  but 
certain  it  is  in  my  opinion,  that  there  is  a  kind  of  fatality  attend- 
ing all  our  public  measures,  inconceivable  delays,  particular 
States  counteracting  the  plans  of  the  United  States  when  sub- 
mitted to  them,  opposing  each  other  upon  all  occasions,  torn 
by  internal  disputes,  or  supinely  negligent  and  inattentive  to 
everything  which  is  not  local  and  selfinteresting  and  very  often 
short  sighted  in  these,  make  up  our  system  of  conduct.  Would 
to  God  our  own  Countrymen,  who  are  entrusted  with  the  man- 
agement of  the  political  machine,  could  view  things  by  that 
large  and  extensive  scale  upon  which  it  is  measured  by  foreign- 
ers, and  by  the  Statemen  of  Europe,  who  see  what  we  might  be, 
and  predict  what  we  shall  come  to.  In  fact,  our  federal  Govern- 
ment is  a  name  without  substance:  No  State  is  longer  bound 
by  its  edicts,  than  it  suits  present  purposes,  without  looking  to 
the  consequences.  How  then  can  we  fail  in  a  little  time,  becom- 
ing the  sport  of  European  politics,  and  the  victims  of  our  own 

I  met  the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette  at  Richmond,  brought  him  to 
this  place,  conducted  him  to  Annapolis,  saw  him  on  the  road 
to  Baltimore,  and  returned.  About  the  middle  of  this  month  he 
expected  to  embark  at  New  York  for  France.  He  tells  us  that 
Mrs.  Knox  was  about  to  add  to  your  family,  we  hope  'ere  this 
we  may  congratulate  you  both  on  a  son,  or  daughter,  according 
to  your  desires.  Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  every  good  senti- 
ment of  esteem,  regard  and  friendship,  I  am,  etc. 

P.  S.  Had  you  an  agreeable  tour  to  the  Eastward  ?  Are  the 
State  Societies2  in  the  New  England  Governments  making  any 
moves  towards  obtaining  Charters?  If  they  are,  with  what 
success  ? s 

1Of  the  Cincinnati. 

2 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  December  8, 1784. 

Dear  Sir:  When  the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette  left  this  place,  he 
expected  to  embark  abt.  the  14th.  or  15th.  Instt.  on  board  the 
Nymph  frigate,  at  New  York,  for  France.  Therefore,  as  this 
event  may  have  taken  place  before  this  letter  gets  that  far,  I 
take  the  liberty  of  putting  the  enclosed  packet  under  cover  to 
you,  with  a  request,  if  he  should  have  Sailed,  to  forward  it  by 
the  fiirst  French  Packet  which  follows. 

In  looking  into  Millers  Gardeners  Dictionary,  I  find,  besides 
transplanting,  that  the  Pine-tree  and  ever  greens  of  all  kinds, 
are  to  be  raised  from  the  Seed.  As  this  may  be  an  easier  way  of 
helping  me  to  the  balm  of  Gilead,  Spruce,  White  pine,  or  Hem- 
lock, than  by  Stolks,  I  would  thank  your  Excellency  when  it 
may  be  convenient  (if  it  is  not  too  late  in  the  Season  for  it)  to 
forward  me  some  of  these  Seeds;  especially  the  first,  extracted 
from  the  Cone,  and  put  up  in  Sand.  A  thimble  ful  or  two  of 
each  would  suffice,  and  this  might,  at  any  time,  come  by  the 
Stage,  first  to  the  care  of  Colo.  Biddle  in  Philadelphia,  who 
would  forward  it  to  me.  Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  best 
wishes  for  Mrs.  Clinton,  yourself  and  all  the  family.  With 
great  truth  etc.4 


Mount  Vernon,  December  8, 1784. 
My  Dr.  Marqs:  The  peregrination  of  the  day  in  which  I 
parted  with  you,  ended  at  Marlbro':  the  next  day,  bad  as  it  was, 
I  got  home  before  dinner.5 

*  From  a  photostat  of  the  original  kindly  furnished  by  John  Gilbert,  of  Philadelphia. 
'Washington  parted  from  Lafayette  at  Annapolis,  apparently  on  December  i,  and 
reached  Mount  Vernon  on  December  2. 


In  the  moment  of  our  separation  upon  the  road  as  I  travelled, 
and  every  hour  since,  I  felt  all  that  love,  respect  and  attachment 
for  you,  with  which  length  of  years,  close  connexion  and  your 
merits  have  inspired  me.  I  often  asked  myself,  as  our  carriages 
distended,6  whether  that  was  the  last  sight,  I  ever  should  have 
of  you  ?  And  tho'  I  wished  to  say  no,  my  fears  answered  yes.  I 
called  to  mind  the  days  of  my  youth,  and  found  they  had  long 
since  fled  to  return  no  more;  that  I  was  now  descending  the 
hill,  I  had  been  52  years  climbing,  and  that  tho'  I  was  blessed 
with  a  good  constitution,  I  was  of  a  short  lived  family,  and 
might  soon  expect  to  be  entombed  in  the  dreary  mansions  of 
my  father's.  These  things  darkened  the  shades  and  gave  a 
gloom  to  the  picture,  consequently  to  my  prospects  of  seeing 
you  again :  but  I  will  not  repine,  I  have  had  my  day. 

Nothing  of  importance  has  occurred  since  I  parted  with  you ; 
I  found  my  family  well,  and  am  now  immersed  in  company; 
notwithstanding  which,  I  have  in  haste,  produced  a  few  more 
letters  to  give  you  the  trouble  of,  rather  inclining  to  commit 
them  to  your  care,  than  to  pass  them  thro'  many  and  unknown 

It  is  unnecessary  ,  I  persuade  myself  to  repeat  to  you  my  Dr. 
Marqs.  the  sincerity  of  my  regards  and  friendship,  nor  have  I 
words  which  could  express  my  affection  for  you,  were  I  to  at- 
tempt it.  My  fervent  prayers  are  offered  for  your  safe  and  pleas- 
ant passage,  happing  meeting  with  Madame  la  Fayette  and 
family,  and  the  completion  of  every  wish  of  your  heart,  in  all 
which  Mrs.  Washington  joins  me,  as  she  does  in  complimts.  to 
Capt.  Grandchean  and  the  Chevr.7  of  whom  little  Wash:n 
often  speaks.  With  every  sentimt.  wch.  is  propitious  and  en- 
dearing, I  am,  etc.8 

6 A  questionable  error  of  the  copyist;  "distanced"  seems  more  likely  to  have  been 
the  word  written  by  Washington. 
7  Chevalier  Caraman. 
8 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 





Mount  Vernon,  December  n,  1784. 
Sir:  The  Gentn.  who  will  have  the  honor  of  presenting  this 
letter  to  you  is  a  Nephew9  of  mine;  heir  to  a  Brother  who  was 
one  of  the  Principio  Company,  and  to  whose  Will  I  was  ap- 
pointed an  Exr.,  the  Circumstances  put  it  out  of  my  power  to 
qualify.  He  is  about  to  offer  a  petition  to  your  honble.  Assem- 
bly for  his  part  of  the  Sales  of  the  property  of  that  Company. 
The  petition  is  explanatory  of  the  justice  on  which  it  is  founded, 
and  so  full  that  it  leaves  nothing  for  me  to  add;  further,  than 
as  it  was  by  a  mis-information,  or  mis-conception  that  his  pro- 
portion of  the  Bonds  got  into  the  hands  of  the  Intendant,  so  I 
am  perswaded  it  only  requires  to  be  known,  to  obtain  an  order 
for  the  assignment  of  them  to  him,  as  the  Act  of  your  Assembly 
reserved  his  interest  therein  absolutely  and  clearly;  and  only 
a  punctilio  of  the  Intendant  the  cause  of  the  delay;  which,  for 
the  reasons  assigned  in  the  petition,  is  exceedingly  injurious  to 
my  Nephew.  You  will  excuse  me  I  hope,  for  the  freedom  of 
this  address;  and  do  me  the  justice  to  believe  that  I  am,  etc.10 


December  13, 1784. 
Dr.  Sir:  My  brother  John11  is  much  in  want  of  four,  five  or  six 
hundred  pounds  which  he  is  desirous  of  borrowing  on  Interest. 
If  it  is  in  your  power  to  supply  him  I  will  become  security  for 

8 William  Augustine  Washington,  son  of  Augustine  ("Austin"),  of  Westmoreland, 
and  a  half-nephew 

10  From  a  photostat  of  the  original  through  the  kindness  of  Judge  E.  A.  Armstrong, 
of  Princeton,  N.  J. 

"John  Augustine  Washington. 

1784]  A  LOAN  REQUEST  9 

the  fulfilment  of  his  agreement.  He  seems  to  have  little  expec- 
tation that  money  in  these  times,  can  be  had  at  the  common 
interest;  and  his  own  words  will  best  express  what  he  is  willing 
to  allow. 

I  believe  I  mentioned  to  you  before  (when  he  was  last  up)  that  I  was 
willing  to  receive  ninety  pounds  for  an  hundred,  and  pay  interest  for 
the  latter  sum  from  the  date,  provided  I  could  be  allowed  to  retain  the 
principal  two  years.  If  I  could  receive  4,  5,  or  6  hundred  pounds  on  these 
terms,  it  would  be  a  real  convenience  and  happiness  for  me;  because  it 
would  enable  me  to  observe  that  punctuality  in  dealing  I  always  wished 
to  do,  and  without  which  I  am  miserable.  If  you  cou'd  prevail  upon  Colo. 
Mason,  or  any  other  Gentieman  to  furnish  me  with  the  above  sum  on 
these  terms,  you  would  confer  a  very  great  favor,  and  I  would  attend  at  a 
time  to  be  appointed  to  give  Bond  and  receive  the  money. 

To  this,  I  can  add  nothing  but  my  wishes  for  his  success,  an 
expression  of  my  own  inclination  to  have  supplied  his  want,  if 
I  had  been  in  circumstances  to  have  it  done.  I  am,  etc.12 


Mount  Vernon,  December  14, 1784. 
Dear  Sir:  The  letter  which  you  did  me  the  honor  to  write  to 
me  on  the  20th.  of  last  month,  only  came  to  my  hands  by  the 
post  preceding  the  date  of  this.  For  the  copy  of  the  treaty  held 
with  the  Six  Nations  at  Fort  Stanwix,  you  will  please  to  accept 
my  thanks.  These  people  have  given  I  think,  all  that  the  United 
States  could  reasonably  have  required  of  them;  more  perhaps 
than  the  State  of  New  York  conceives  ought  to  have  been  asked 
from  them  by  any  other  than  their  own  Legislature.  I  wish 
they  were  better  satisfied.  Individual  States  opposing  the  meas- 
ures of  the  United  States,  encroaching  upon  the  territory  of 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
13  Richard  Henry  Lee. 


each  other;  and  setting  up  old  and  obsolete  claims,  is  verifying 
the  prediction  of  our  enemies,  and  is  truly  unfortunate.  If  the 
Western  tribes  are  as  well  disposed  to  treat  with  us  as  the  Six 
Nations  have  been;  and  will  cede  a  competent  District  of  Land 
No.  West  of  the  Ohio  to  answer  our  present  purposes;  it  will  be 
a  circumstance  as  unexpected;  as  pleasing  to  me;  for  it  was 
apprehended  that  they  would  agree  to  the  latter  reluctantly,  if 
at  all:  but  the  example  of  the  northern  Indians  who  (if  they 
have  not  reliquished  their  claim)  have  pretentions  to  a  large 
part  of  those  Lands;  may  have  a  powerful  influence  on  the 
Western  gentry,  and  smooth  the  way  for  the  Commissioners 
who  have  proceeded  to  Cayahoga. 

It  gave  me  pleasure  to  find  by  the  last  Gazettes,  that  a  suffi- 
cient number  of  States  had  assembled  to  form  a  Congress,  and 
that  you  were  chosen  to  preside  in  it,14  on  this  event  be  pleased 
to  accept  my  compliments  of  congratulation.  To  whatever 
causes  the  delay  of  this  meeting  may  have  been  ascribed,15  it 
most  certainly  has  an  unfavourable  aspect;  contributes  to  lessen 
(at  present  too  low)  the  dignity  and  importance  of  the  federal 
government,  and  is  hurtful  to  our  national  character  in  the  eyes 
of  Europe. 

It  is  said  (I  do  not  know  how  founded)  that  our  Assembly 
have  repealed  their  former  act  respecting  British  debts.  If  this 
be  true,  and  the  State  of  New  York  has  not  acted  repugnant  to 
the  terms  of  the  Treaty,  the  British  Government  can  no  longer 
hold  the  western  Posts  under  that  cover;  but  I  shall  be  mistaken 
if  they  do  not  entrench  themselves  behind  some  other  expedi- 
ent to  effect  it;  or  will  appoint  a  time  for  surrendering  them 
of  which  we  cannot  avail  ourselves;  the  probable  consequence 
of  which  will  be  the  destruction  of  the  works. 

"Lee  was  elected  President  of  Congress  on  November  30. 

"Congress  was  to  have  assembled  October  30,  but  did  not  succeed  in  organizing 
until  November  30. 


The  Assemblies  of  Virginia  and  Maryland  have  now  under 
consideration  the  extension  of  the  inland  navigation  of  the 
rivers  Potomac  and  James,  and  opening  a  communication  be- 
tween them  and  the  Western  waters:  they  seem  fully  im- 
pressed with  the  political  as  well  as  the  commercial  advantages 
which  would  result  from  the  accomplishment  of  these  great 
objects;  and  I  hope  will  embrace  the  present  moment  to  put 
them  in  train  for  speedy  execution.  Would  it  not  at  the  same 
time  be  worthy  of  the  wisdom  and  attention  of  Congress,  to 
have  the  western  waters  well  explored,  the  navigation  of  them 
fully  ascertained,  accurately  laid  down,  and  a  complete  and  per- 
fect map  made  of  the  Country;  at  least,  as  far  westwardly  as 
the  Miamies  running  into  the  Ohio  and  Lake  Erie;  and  to  see 
how  the  waters  of  them  communicate  with  the  river  St.  Joseph 
which  empties  into  the  Lake  Michigan,  and  with  the  Wabash  ? 
I  cannot  forbear  observing  here,  that  the  Miami  Village  in 
Hutchins  map,  if  it,  and  the  waters  here  mentioned  are  laid 
down  with  any  degree  of  accuracy,  points  to  a  very  important 
post  for  the  Union.  The  expence  attending  this  undertaking 
cou'd  not  be  great,  the  advantages  would  be  unbounded;  for 
sure  I  am,  nature  has  made  such  an  ample  display  of  her  boun- 
ties in  those  regions,  that  the  more  the  Country  is  explored,  the 
more  it  will  rise  in  estimation,  consequently,  the  greater  might 
the  revenue  be  to  the  Union.  Would  there  be  any  impropriety 
do  you  think  sir,  in  reserving  for  special  sale,  all  Mines,  miner- 
als and  Salt  springs  in  the  general  Grants  of  Land  belonging 
to  the  United  States.  The  Public,  instead  of  the  few  knowing 
ones,  might  in  this  case  derive  the  benefits  which  would  result 
from  the  sale  of  them,  without  infringing  any  rule  of  justice 
that  occurs  to  me,  or  their  own  laws,  but  on  the  contrary 
inflict  a  just  punishment  upon  those,  who  in  defiance  of  the 
latter,  have  dared  to  create  enemies,  and  to  disturb  the  public 


tranquillity,  by  roaming  over  the  country,  marking  and  survey- 
ing the  valuable  spots  in  it,  to  the  great  disquiet  of  the  Western 
Tribes  of  Indians,  who  have  viewed  these  transactions  with 
jealous  indignation.  To  hit  upon  a  happy  medium  price  for 
the  Western  Lands,  for  the  prevention  of  monopoly  on  one 
hand;  and  not  discouraging  useful  settlers  on  the  other,  will  no 
doubt  require  consideration,  but  should  not  employ  too  much 
time  before  it  is  announced.  The  spirit  for  emigration  is  great, 
people  have  got  impatient,  and  tho'  you  cannot  stop  the  road,  it 
is  yet  in  your  power  to  mark  the  way;  a  little  while  and  you  will 
not  be  able  to  do  either.  It  is  easier  to  prevent,  than  to  remedy 
an  evil.  I  shall  be  happy  in  the  continuation  of  your  corre- 
spondence, and  with  every  sentiment  of  great  esteem  etc.16 


Mount  Vernon,  December  15, 1784. 
Sir:  I  have  received  your  letter  of  the  17th.  ulto.  It  would  in- 
terfere with  no  views  of  mine,  to  give  you  a  field  to  speculate 
in,  if  I  was  sufficiently  Master  of  the  business,  and  had  leisure 
for  these  kind  of  communications:  but  the  truth  is,  I  do  not 
turn  my  thoughts  to  matters  of  that  sort,  and  if  I  did,  the  busi- 
ness in  which  you  want  to  be  informed  is  too  much  in  embryo, 
and  depends  too  much  on  contingencies,  to  speak  to  with  any 
degree  of  certainty  at  this  time.  First,  because  Acts  of  the  As- 
semblies of  Virginia  and  Maryland,  must  be  obtained  to  incor- 
porate private  Adventurers  to  undertake  the  business.  2d.  the 
Company  must  be  formed  before  anything  can  be  done.  3d.  an 
actual  survey  of  the  waters,  by  skilful  Engineers,  (or  persons 
in  that  line)  must  take  place  and  be  approved  before  the  points 
at  which  the  navigation  on  the  different  waters  can  be  ascer- 

18 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1784]  EDUCATION  OF  YOUTH  13 

tained,  as  proper  to  end,  or  commence  the  water  transportation. 
From  Fort  Cumberland  to  the  Yohioghany  is  one  of  the  Por- 
tages in  contemplation,  and  from  some  place  higher  up  the  No. 
river,17  most  convenient  to  the  navigable  part,  or  such  part  as 
can  be  made  so,  of  the  Cheat  river,  is  another  portage  talked  of; 
but  whether  either,  neither  or  both  may  be  attempted  does  not 
lie  with  me  to  determine,  and  therefore  I  should  be  unwilling 
to  mislead  any  one  by  hazarding  an  opinion,  as  my  knowledge 
of  that  Country  goes  more  to  the  general  view  of  it,  and  to 
general  principle,  than  to  the  investigation  of  local  spots  for 
interested  purposes.  I  am,  etc.18 


Mount  Vernon,  December  15, 1784. 

Sir:  Not  until  within  a  few  days  have  I  been  honor'd  with 
your  favor  of  the  27th.  of  Septr.  1783,  accompanying  your 
treatise  on  Education. 

My  sentiments  are  perfectly  in  unison  with  yours  sir,  that  the 
best  means  of  forming  a  manly,  virtuous  and  happy  people,  will 
be  found  in  the  right  education  of  youth.  Without  this  foun- 
dation, every  other  means,  in  my  opinion,  must  fail;  and  it  gives 
me  pleasure  to  find  that  Gentlemen  of  your  abilities  are  devot- 
ing their  time  and  attention  in  pointing  out  the  way.  For  your 
lucubrations  on  this  subject  which  you  have  been  so  obliging  as 
to  send  me,  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  thanks,  and  an  expression 
of  the  pleasure  I  felt  at  the  declaration  of  your  intention  to  de- 
vote a  further  portion  of  your  time  in  so  useful  a  study. 

Of  the  importance  of  education  our  Assemblies,  happily, 
seem  fully  impressed ;  they  establishing  new,  and  giving  further 

"The  North  Branch  of  the  Potomac. 
"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

"Formerly  master  of  the  grammar  school  at  Dumfries,  Va.,  and  at  this  time  master 
of  the  academy  at  Inchdrewer,  near  Banff,  North  Britain. 


endowments  to  the  old  Seminaries  of  learning,  and  I  persuade 
myself  will  leave  nothing  unessayed  to  cultivate  literature  and 
useful  knowledge,  for  the  purpose  of  qualifying  the  rising  gen- 
eration for  patrons  of  good  government,  virtue  and  happiness. 
I  have  the  honor,  etc.20 


Mount  Vernon,  December  19, 1784. 
Dr.  Sir:  The  Express  who  brought  me  the  resolves  of  our 
Assembly,  and  is  going  to  Annapolis  with  dispatches  for  Govr. 
Paca,  informs  me  that  he  deliver'd  others  to  you.  It  only  re- 
mains therefore  for  me  to  add,  that  Thursday  next,  the  23d.  is 
the  day  appointed  for  the  Commissioners  to  meet  at  Annap- 
olis.21 I  shall  go  to  our  Court  tomorrow,  and  proceed  from 
thence.22  I  am,  etc.20 


Mount  Vernon,  December  20, 1784. 
Dear  Sir:  I  am  indebted  to  you  for  several  letters,  and  am  as 
much  so  for  the  Fish  you  kindly  intended,  as  if  it  had  actually 
arrived,  and  I  was  in  the  act  of  paying  my  respects  to  it  at  table, 
the  chance,  however,  of  doing  this  would  be  greater,  was  it  at 
Boston,  than  in  Yorktown  in  this  State,  where  I  am  informed 
it  was  landed  at  the  time  the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette  did,  who 
proceeded  from  thence  to  Richmond,  where  I  met  him,  and 
conducted  him  to  Annapolis  on  his  way  to  New  York;  the  place 
of  his  intended  embarkation  for  France,  about  the  middle  of 
this  month. 

20 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

21  Blackburn  became  ill  and  did  not  attend. 

22  On  December  19  Washington  also  wrote  a  brief  note  to  Governor  Paca,  notifying 
him  that  he  would  be  in  Annapolis  at  the  time  appointed.  A  copy  of  this  letter  is  in 
the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


I  am  glad  to  hear  that  my  old  acquaintance  Colo.  Ward23  is 
yet  under  the  influence  of  vigorous  passions.  I  will  not  ascribe 
the  intrepidity  of  his  late  enterprize  to  a  mere  flash  of  desires, 
because,  in  his  military  career  he  would  have  learnt  how  to  dis- 
tinguish between  false  alarms  and  a  serious  movement.  Char- 
ity therefore  induces  me  to  suppose  that  like  a  prudent  general, 
he  had  reviewed  his  strength,  his  arms,  and  ammunition  before 
he  got  involved  in  an  action.  But  if  these  have  been  neglected, 
and  he  has  been  precipitated  into  the  measure,  let  me  advise 
him  to  make  the  first  onset  upon  his  fair  del  Toboso,  with  vigor, 
that  the  impression  may  be  deep,  if  it  cannot  be  lasting,  or  fre- 
quently renewed. 

We  are  all  well  at  this  time  except  Miss  Custis,  who  still  feels 
the  effect,  and  sometimes  the  return  of  her  fever.  Mrs.  Lund 
Washington  has  added  a  daughter  to  her  family.  She,  Child 
and  husband  are  well,  and  become  house-keepers  at  the  dis- 
tance of  about  four  miles  from  this  place. 

We  have  a  dearth  of  News,  but  the  fine  weather  keeps  us 
busy,  and  we  have  leisure  for  cogitation.  All  join  in  best  wishes 
for  you,  Doctr.  and  Mrs.  Stuart  are  of  those  who  do  it.  I  am, 


Alexandria,  December  20, 1784. 
Sir:  The  letter  you  did  me  the  honor  to  write  to  me  the  15th 
Inst,  was  not  delivered  until  late  yesterday  Evening.  I  filled  the 
Blank  in  the  letter  to  Govr.  Paca  and  forwarded  it;  and  am  now 
on  my  way  to  Annapolis.  I  named  the  22d.,  which  at  the  rate 
your  Express  travels,  is  as  soon  as  the  Govr.  can  lay  your  letter 

23 Col.  Joseph(?)  Ward. 

24 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


before  the  Assembly  of  Maryland  and  Commns.  be  appointed 
to  meet  those  from  this  State.  Genl.  Gates  will  attend;  and  I 
have  given  Colo.  Blackburne  notice  of  the  time  and  place. 

As  soon  as  the  business  of  the  meeting  is  finished  a  report 
shall  be  made.  I  have  the  honr.  etc.25 


Mount  Vernon,  December  20, 1784. 

Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  27th.  of  October  came  to  my  hands  the 
14th.  inst:,  the  box  of  Plate  is  not  yet  arrived. 

It  would  have  been  very  obliging  in  you,  and  would  have 
done  me  an  essential  kindness,  had  you  as  soon  as  this  Box  ar- 
rived at  New  York  (which  you  say  was  the  latter  part  of  sum- 
mer) given  me  notice  thereof  by  post;  altho'  there  might  have 
been  no  opportunity  at  that  time,  or  in  any  short  time  there- 
after to  forward  the  package  to  me:  for  having  been  assured 
by  Mr.  Parker  (before  I  left  New  York  last  year)  that  I  might 
look  for  this  Plate  in  the  Spring;  having,  in  answer  to  a  letter 
I  wrote  to  him  early  in  the  summer,  been  informed  of  some 
disappointment  to  his  expectation  of  it;  and  having  heard 
soon  after,  that  that  Gentlen.  was  under  peculiar  embarrass- 
ment, and  not  a  word  from  him  since,  I  gave  up  every  idea  of 
having  my  commission  complied  with  by  him,  and  supplied 
myself,  not  fourteen  days  ago,  in  another  way.  I  now  have 
both  setts,  neither  of  which  can  be  disposed  of,  one  having  been 
used,  and  the  other  having  my  Crest  and  arms  on  it. 

When  I  was  at  New  York,  altho'  I  could  not  get  Mr.  Parker, 
from  his  then  hurry,  to  render  me  a  full  and  complete  trans- 
cript of  my  Accots.;  yet  he  gave  me  a  short  statement  of  the 
debit  and  credit  of  my  dealings  with  him  by  which  there  is  a 

From  a  photostat  of  the  draft  in  the  Chicago  University  Library. 


balance  of  ;£  65.5.5  York  Curry,  due  to  me,  this  sum  I  left  in  his 
hands  declaredly  and  by  agreement  to  be  applied  towards  pay- 
ment for  the  Plate  his  brother  was  to  get  for  me.  If  you  will  be 
pleased  (if  Mr.  Parkers  books  are  in  your  possession)  to  ex- 
amine into  this  matter,  or  if  they  are  not,  will  make  out  an  ac- 
count with  this  credit,  at  the  current  exchange,  I  will  cause  it 
to  be  paid.  To  do  it  in  Alexandria,  if  you  have  any  Agent  or 
correspondent  there,  would  be  more  convenient  for  me,  as  I 
have  no  dealings  either  in  New  York  or  London  at  this  time. 
In  this  case  I  shou'd  be  glad  to  have  the  original  Bill  sent  with 
the  Accot.  If  the  business  cannot  be  closed  in  this  manner  I  will 
endeavour  to  accomodate  myself  to  your  wishes  in  any  other 
way  I  am  able.  lam,  etc.28 


Annapolis,  December  23, 1784. 

My  Dr.  Marqs.  You  would  scarcely  expect  to  receive  a  letter 
from  me  at  this  place:  a  few  hours  before  I  set  out  for  it,  I  as 
little  expected  to  cross  the  Potomac  again  this  winter,  or  even 
to  be  fifteen  miles  from  home  before  the  first  of  April,  as  I 
did  to  make  you  a  visit  in  an  air  Balloon  in  France. 

I  am  here  however,  with  Genl.  Gates,  at  the  request  of  the 
Assembly  of  Virginia,  to  fix  matters  with  the  Assembly  of  this 
State  respecting  the  extension  of  the  inland  navigation  of  Poto- 
mac, and  the  communication  between  it  and  the  Western 
waters;  and  hope  a  plan  will  be  agreed  upon  to  the  mutual  satis- 
faction of  both  States,  and  to  the  advantage  of  the  Union  at 

It  gave  me  pain  to  hear  that  the  Frigate  la  Nymph,  grounded 
in  her  passage  to  New  York,  we  have  various  accots.  of  this 

26From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


unlucky  accident,  but  I  hope  she  has  received  no  damage,  and 
that  your  embarkation  is  not  delay'd  by  it. 

The  enclosed  came  to  my  hands  under  cover  of  the  letter 
which  accompanies  it,  and  which  is  explanatory  of  the  delay  it 
has  met  with.  I  can  only  repeat  to  you  assurances  of  my  best 
wishes  for  an  agreeable  passage  and  happy  meeting  with 
Madame  la  Fayette  and  your  family,  and  of  the  sincere  attach- 
ment and  affection  with  which,  I  am,  etc. 

PS.  You  and  your  heirs,  Male,  are  made  Citizens  of  this  State27 
by  an  Act  of  Assembly.  You  will  have  an  official  Accot.  of  it, 
this  is  by  the  by.28 


Annapolis,  December  28, 1784. 

Dear  Sir:  I  have  been  favored  with  your  letter  of  the  nth. 

The  proceedings  of  the  conference,  and  the  Act  and  resolu- 
tions of  this  Legislature  consequent  thereupon  (herewith  trans- 
mitted to  the  Assembly)  are  so  full,  and  explanatory  of  the 
motives  which  governed  in  this  business,  that  it  is  scarcely 
necessary  for  me  to  say  any  thing  in  addition  to  them;  except 
that,  this  State  seem  highly  impressed  with  the  importance  of 
the  objects  wch.  we  have  had  under  consideration,  and  are  very 
desirous  of  seeing  them  accomplished. 

We  have  reduced  most  of  the  Tolls  from  what  they  were 
in  the  first  Bill,  and  have  added  something  to  a  few  others, 
upon  the  whole,  we  have  made  them  as  low  as  we  conceived 
from  the  best  information  before  us,  and  such  estimates  as 
we  had  means  to  calculate  upon,  as  they  can  be  fixed,  without 

^Maryland  and  also  Virginia  made  Lafayette  a  citizen. 

28 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

On  December  23  Washington  wrote  a  brief  letter  to  Baron  Montesquieu,  Marquis 
de  la  Brede,  aide  to  Chevalier  de  Chastellux,  introducing  John  Ridout,  of  Annapolis. 
A  copy  of  this  letter  is  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1784]  POTOMAC  TOLL  RATES  19 

hazarding  the  plan  altogether.  We  made  the  value  of  the  com- 
modity the  governing  principle  in  the  establishment  of  the 
Tolls;  but  having  had  an  eye  to  some  bulky  articles  of  produce, 
and  to  the  encouragement  of  the  growth  and  Manufacture  of 
some  others,  as  well  as  to  prevent  a  tedious  enumeration  of  the 
different  species  of  all,  we  departed  from  the  genl.  rule  in  many 

The  rates  of  tollage  as  now  fixed,  may  still  appear  high  to 
some  of  the  Southern  Gentlemen,  when  they  compare  them 
with  those  on  James  River;  but  as  there  is  no  comparison  in  the 
expence  and  risk  of  the  two  undertakings,  so  neither  ought 
thereto  be  in  the  Tolls,  I  am  fully  perswaded  that  the  Gentle- 
men who  were  appointed,  and  have  had  this  matter  under  con- 
sideration, were  actuated  by  no  other  motives  than  to  hit  (if 
they  could  do  so)  upon  such  a  happy  medium  as  would  not  be 
burthensome  to  indivs.  or  give  jealousy  to  the  public  on  one 
hand,  nor  discouragement  to  adventures  on  the  other.  To  se- 
cure success,  and  to  give  vigor  to  the  undertaking,  it  was  judged 
advisable  for  each  State  to  contribute  (upon  the  terms  of  private 
Subscribers)  to  the  expence  of  it;  especially  as  it  might  have  a 
happy  influence  on  the  minds  of  the  Western  Settlers  and  it 
may  be  observed  here,  that  only  part  of  this  money  can  be  called 
for  immediately,  provided  the  work  goes  on;  and  afterwards, 
only  in  the  proportion  of  its  progression. 

Though  there  is  no  obligation  upon  the  State  to  adopt  this  (if 
it  is  inconvenient,  or  repugnant  to  their  wishes)  yet  I  should  be 
highly  pleased  to  hear  that  they  had  done  so,  (our  advantages 
will,  most  assuredly,  be  equal  to  those  of  Maryland  and  our  pub- 
lic spirit  ought  not,  in  my  opinion,  to  be  less) ;  as  also  the  reso- 
lutions respecting  the  roads  of  Communication;  both  of  which, 
tho  they  look  in  some  degree  to  different  objects,  are  both 
very  important;  that  by  the  Yohiogany  (thro'  Pensylvania) 


is  particularly  so  for  the  Fur  and  Peltry  of  the  Lakes,  because 
it  is  the  most  direct  rout  by  which  they  can  be  transported; 
whilst  it  is  exceedingly  convenient  to  the  people  who  inhabit 
the  Ohio  (or  Alligany)  above  Fort  Pitt;  the  lower  part  of  the 
Monogahela;  and  all  the  Yohiogany. 

Matters  might  perhaps  have  been  better  digested  if  more 
time  had  been  taken,  but  the  fear  of  not  getting  the  report  to 
Richmond  before  the  Assembly  would  have  risen,  occasioned 
more  hurry  than  accuracy;  or  even  real  dispatch.  But  to  alter 
the  Act  now,  further  than  to  accommodate  it  to  circumstances 
where  it  is  essential ;  or  to  remedy  an  obvious  error  if  any  should 
be  discovered  will  not  do.  The  Bill  passed  this  Assembly  with 
only  9  dissenting  voices;  and  got  thro'  both  Houses  in  a  day, 
so  earnest  were  the  members  of  getting  it  to  you  in  time. 

It  is  now  near  12  at  Night,  and  I  am  writing  with  an  Aching 
head,  having  been  constantly  employed  in  this  business  since 
the  22d.  without  assistance  from  my  Colleagues;  Genl.  Gates 
having  been  Sick  the  whole  time,  and  Colo.  Blackburn  not 
attending.  But  for  this  I  would  be  more  explicit.  I  am  etc. 

I  am  ashamed  to  send  such  a  letter,  but  cannot  give  you  a 
fairer  one.29 


Annapolis,  December  28, 1784. 
Pursuant  to  the  Resolves  of  the  Honble.  the  Senate  and  Ho. 
of  Delegates,  and  conformably  to  the  direction  of  the  Executive 
authority  of  the  State  of  Virginia,  we  repaired  to  the  City  of  An- 
napolis, and  held  a  conference  with  the  Gentlemen  appointed 

20  From  a  photostat  of  the  original  kindly  furnished  by  George  A.  Ball,  of  Muncie,  Ind. 


by  the  Legislature  of  Maryland;  the  result  of  which  is  contained 
in  the  Inclosure  No.  i.30 

In  consequence  of  the  opinion  given  by  the  Conference  the 
Legislature  of  Maryland  have  passed  the  Act  inclosed,  No.  2. 
and  the  Resolves  No.  3. 

It  may  be  necessary  for  us  to  explain  the  reason  for  the  pro- 
vision in  the  Act.  "that  if  Subscriptions  should  be  taken  in;  or 
a  meeting  of  Subscribers  directed  by  the  Legislature  of  Virginia 
at  different  times,  different  from  those  in  the  Act,  then  there 
should  be  a  meeting  at  the  time  appointed  by  Virginia;  and 
subscriptions  made  at  times  by  them  appointed,  should  be  re- 
ceived". It  was  thought  by  the  Conf  errees  to  be  most  proper  to 
appoint  certain  times  in  the  Act,  but  as  it  was  doubtful  whether 
the  Act  would  get  to  Virginia  in  time  to  be  adopted  at  the 
present  Session  of  the  Assembly,  it  was  judged  necessary  to 
make  a  provision  to  accomodate  the  Scheme  to  an  Act  to  be 
passed  by  Virginia,  or  the  next  Session  of  their  assembly,  with- 
out the  necessity  of  having  recourse  again  to  the  Legislature  of 
Maryland,  but  it  is  the  opinion  of  the  Conferrees  that  an  Act 
upon  Similar  principles  to  that  passed  by  Maryland  might,  if 
possible  be  passed  by  the  Assembly  of  Virginia  at  this  Session; 
this  would  give  Speedy  beginning  to  the  Work,  and  an  opper- 
tunity  of  embracing  the  present  favorable  state  of  things  for 
accomplishing  the  views  of  the  two  States. 

The  Act  appears  to  us,  from  every  consideration  we  can  give 
it,  to  be  founded  on  just  and  proper  principles,  and  to  be  calcu- 
lated to  answer  in  every  respect  the  purposes  for  which  it  is 
designed;  we  conceive  it  a  duty  therefore  to  declare  that  it 
meets  our  entire  approbation. 

30  The  inclosures  are  not  now  found  in  the  Washington  Papers.  The  report  of  the 
proceedings  of  the  Commissioners  (inclosure  no.  i)  is  printed  in  Corra  Bacon-Foster's 
Potomac  Route  to  the  West,  p.  45. 


The  reasons  why  this  Act  has  not  the  Signature  of  the  chief 
magistrate  are,  because  he  is  not  present,  and  because  it  wants 
not  this  formality  to  give  it  validity. 

We  should  do  injustice  to  our  feelings  were  we  not  to  add 
that  we  have  been  happy  in  meeting  Gentlemen  of  liberallity 
and  candour,  impressed  with  the  importance  of  accelerating 
the  purpose  of  the  Legislature  of  Virginia  of  opening  a  free  and 
easy  intercourse  with  the  Western  territory,  and  for  the  exten- 
sion of  inland  Navigation;  and,  that,  there  has  been  a  perfect 
accordance  of  Sentiment  in  the  Legislature  of  the  State. 

Respectfully  submitted  by  Go:  Washington  and  Horatio 
Gates.31  [C.L.] 


Mount  Vernon,  January  5, 1785.32 
Revd.  Sir:  A  few  days  ago,  under  cover  from  Mr.  Hazard  of 
Philada.,  I  was  honored  with  your  favor  of  the  19th.  of  July, 
and  the  first  volume  of  your  history  of  New  Hampshire.  For 
both  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  thanks:  but  my  acknowledge- 
ments are  more  particularly  due  for  your  favourable  expres- 
sion, in  the  former,  of  my  past  endeavors  to  support  the  cause 
of  liberty.  The  proof  you  have  given  of  your  approbation  of 
this,  is  interesting.  I  receive  it  with  gratitude,  and  am  with 
great  respect,  Revd.  Sir,  etc.33 

81  Washington  signed  for  Gates. 

In  1784,  or  an  approximate  date,  Washington  drew  up  a  tabular  statement  of  "A 
List  of  the  United  States  Loan  Office  certificates,  in  possession  of,  and  belonging  to 
George  Washington.  Payable  in  Virginia"  and  also  of  those  payable  in  Maryland  and 
"at  the  United  States  Office."  This  showed  holdings  amounting,  both  principal  and 
interest,  to  $28,930,  which,  in  specie  value,  at  the  depreciation  rate,  amounted  to 
$8,002.92.  A  photostat  of  this,  in  the  Washington  Papers,  was  kindly  furnished  by 
Alfred  C.  Chapin,  of  New  York  City. 

^In  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington  Papers,  this  date  is  wrongly  copied  as 

33  Washington  forwarded  this  letter  in  care  of  Ebenezer  Hazard,  to  whom  he  wrote 
a  brief,  explanatory  note,  Jan.  5,  1785.  This  note  is  entered  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in 
the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  HIS  SITUATION  23 


Mount  Vernon,  January  5, 1785. 

My  dear  Sir:  About  the  beginning  of  last  month  I  wrote  you 
a  pretty  long  letter,  and  soon  after,  received  your  favor  of  the 
23d.  of  November.  It  is  not  the  letters  from  my  friends  which 
give  me  trouble,  or  adds  ought  to  my  perplexity.  I  receive  them 
with  pleasure,  and  pay  as  much  attention  to  them  as  my  avoca- 
tions will  admit. 

It  is  references  of  old  matters  with  which  I  have  nothing  to 
do.  Applications,  which  oftentimes  cannot  be  complied  with. 
Enquiries,  which  would  employ  the  pen  of  a  historian  to  satisfy. 
Letters  of  compliment,  as  unmeaning  perhaps  as  they  are  trou- 
blesome, but  which  must  be  attended  to.  And  the  common- 
place business,  which  employs  my  pen  and  my  time;  often 

Indeed,  these  with  company,  deprive  me  of  exercise,  and 
unless  I  can  obtain  relief,  may  be  productive  of  disagreeable  con- 
sequences. I  already  begin  to  feel  the  effect.  Heavy,  and  pain- 
ful oppressions  of  the  head,  and  other  disagreeable  sensations, 
often  trouble  me.  I  am  determined  therefore  to  employ  some 
person  who  shall  ease  me  of  the  drudgery  of  this  business.  At 
any  rate,  if  the  whole  of  it  is  thereby  suspended,  I  am  resolved 
to  use  exercise.  My  private  concerns  also,  require  infinitely 
more  attention  than  I  have  given,  or  can  give,  under  present  cir- 
cumstances. They  can  no  longer  be  neglected  without  involv- 
ing my  ruin.  This,  my  dear  Sir,  is  a  friendly  communication; 
I  give  it  in  testimony  of  my  unreservedness  with  you,  and  not 
for  the  purpose  of  discouraging  your  letters;  for  be  assured 
that,  to  corrispond  with  those  I  love  is  among  my  highest  grati- 
fications, and  I  perswade  myself  you  will  not  doubt  my  sin- 
cerity when  I  assure  you,  I  place  you  among  the  foremost  of 


this  class.  Letters  of  friendship  require  no  study,  the  communi- 
cations are  easy,  and  allowances  are  expected,  and  made.  This 
is  not  the  case  with  those  which  require  re-searches,  consid- 
eration, recollection,  and  the  de — 1  knows  what  to  prevent 
error,  and  to  answer  the  ends  for  which  they  are  written. 

In  my  last  I  informed  you  that  I  was  endeavouring  to  stimulate 
my  Countrymen  to  the  extension  of  the  inland  Navigation  of 
our  rivers;  and  to  the  opening  of  the  best  and  easiest  communi- 
cation for  Land  transportation  between  them  and  the  western 
waters.  I  am  just  returned  from  Annapolis  to  which  place  I  was 
requested  to  go  by  our  Assembly  (with  my  bosom  friend  Genl. 
G — tes,  who  being  at  Richmond  contrived  to  edge  himself  into 
the  Commission)  for  the  purpose  of  arranging  matters,  and 
forming  a  Law  which  should  be  similar  in  both  States,  so  far 
as  it  respected  the  river  Potomack,  which  seperates  them.  I 
met  the  most  perfect  accordance  in  that  legislature;  and  the 
matter  is  now  reported  to  ours,  for  its  concurrence.  The  two 
Assemblies  (not  being  in  Circumstances  to  undertake  this  busi- 
ness wholly  at  the  public  expence)  propose  to  incorporate  such 
private  Adventurers  as  shall  associate  for  the  purpose  of  ex- 
tending the  navigation  of  the  River  from  the  tide  water  as  far 
up  as  it  will  admit  Craft  of  ten  Tons  burthen,  and  to  allow 
them  a  perpetual  toll  and  other  emoluments  to  induce  them  to 
subscribe  freely  to  a  Work  of  such  magnitude;  whilst  they 
have  agreed  (or,  I  should  rather  say,  probably  will  agree,  as  the 
matter  is  not  yet  concluded  in  the  Virginia  Assembly)  to  open, 
at  the  public  expence,  the  communication  with  the  Western 
territory.  To  do  this  will  be  a  great  political  work.  May  be 
immensely  extensive  in  a  commercial  point,  and  beyond  all 
question,  will  be  exceedingly  beneficial  for  those  who  advance 
the  money  for  the  purpose  of  extending  the  Navigation  of  the 
river,  as  the  tolls  arising  therefrom  are  to  be  held  in  perpetuity, 
and  will  encrease  every  year. 

1785]  LIMESTONE  25 

Rents  have  got  to  such  an  amazing  height  in  Alexandria,  that 
(having  an  unimproved  lot  or  two  there)  I  have  thoughts,  if 
my  finances  will  support  me  in  the  measure,  of  building  a 
House,  or  Houses  thereon  for  the  purpose  of  letting. 

In  humble  imitation  of  the  wise  man,  I  have  set  me  down  to 
count  the  cost;  and  among  other  heavy  articles  of  expenditure, 
I  find  lime  is  not  the  smallest. 

Stone  lime  with  us,  owing  to  the  length  of  (Land)  transpor- 
tation comes  very  high  at  that  place.  Shell  lime,  from  its  weak- 
ness, and  the  consequent  quantity  used,  is  far  from  being  low. 
These  considerations  added  to  a  report  that  this  article  may  be 
had  from  your  State  by  way  of  Ballast,  upon  terms  much  easier 
than  either  can  be  bought  here,  inclines  me  without  making  an 
apology,  to  give  you  the  trouble  of  enquiring  from  those  who 
might  be  disposed  to  enter  into  a  contract  therefor,  and  can 
ascertain  the  fact  with  precision, 

ist.  At  what  price  by  the  Bushel,  a  quantity  of  slaked  stone 
lime  could  be  delivered  at  one  of  the  Wharves  at  Alexandria 
(freight  and  every  incidental  charge  included),  or  to  a  Lighter 
opposite  to  my  own  House. 

2d.  At  what  price  burnt  lime  stone,  but  unslaked  (if  it  be  safe 
to  bring  such)  could  be  delivered  as  above. 

3d.  At  what  price  unburnt  lime  stone,  could  be  delivered  at 
the  latter  place. 

In  the  last  case,  it  might  I  should  suppose,  come  as  Ballast 
very  low.  In  the  Second,  it  might  also  come  as  Ballast,  and  (tho' 
higher  than  the  former,  yet)  comparatively,  cheap,  if  the  dan- 
ger of  waters  getting  to  it,  and  its  slaking  and  heating  in  the 
Hold,  would  not  be  too  great.  In  the  first  case,  there  would 
be  no  certainty  of  its  goodness,  because  lime  from  the  late 
judicious  experiments  of  a  Mr.  Higgens,  should  be  used  as 
soon  as  it  is  slaked;  and  would  be  still  better,  if  it  was  so,  imme- 
diately after  burning;  as  Air  as  well  as  water,  according  to  his 


observations,  weakens  and  injures  it.  Your  information  upon 
these  points  from  those  who  might  incline  to  Contract,  and  on 
whom  dependance  could  be  placed,  would  much  oblige  me; 
and  the  sooner  I  get  it  the  better,  as  my  determination  is 

Our  amiable  young  friend  the  Marquis  de  la  Fayette  could 
not  be  otherwise  than  well  pleased  with  his  reception  in  Amer- 
ica. Every  testimony  of  respect,  affection  and  gratitude  has 
been  shewn  him,  wherever  he  went;  if  his  heart  therefore 
has  not  been  impressed  with  these  expressions  (which  I  am  far 
from  supposing)  the  political  consequence  which  he  will  de- 
rive from  them  must  bear  them  in  his  remembrance,  and  point 
to  the  advantages  wch.  must  flow. 

You  informed  me  that  Mrs.  Knox  had  got  another,  but  left 
me  to  guess,  boy  or  girl.  On  the  birth  of  either  Mrs.  Washing- 
ton and  I  sincerely  congratulate  you  both;  and  offer  our  best 
wishes  for  you  all  hoping  the  good  health  which  Mrs.  Knox 
and  the  Children  enjoyed  at  the  time  your  letter  was  written, 
may  be  of  long  continuance.  The  report  of  my  coming  to 
Boston  was  without  foundation;  I  do  not,  at  this  time,  know 
when,  or  whether  ever,  I  may  have  it  in  my  power  to  do  this, 
altho'  to  see  my  compatriots  in  War,  would  be  great  gratifica- 
tion to  my  mind.  With  every  sentiment  of  esteem  etc. 



Mount  Vernon,  January  5,  1785. 

Dear  Sir:  Receive  my  thanks  for  your  favor  of  31st.  ulto.,  and 
for  the  copies  therewith  enclosed:  they  will  answer  my  pur- 
poses equally  with  the  fairest  that  could  be  made. 

When  I  found  your  Express  at  Mount  Pleasant,  and  was  un- 
able to  procure  another  in  Marlbro',  I  commenced  one  myself, 


got  home  before  dinner,  and  dispatched  one  of  my  servants 
to  Hooes  ferry  immediately.  He  placed  the  packet  into  the 
hands  of  the  Express  there  waiting,  before  nine  o'clock  next 
morning:  on  Friday  with  ease  the  business  might  have  been 
laid  before  the  Assembly  of  this  State,  yet  sitting  I  believe. 
When  I  hear  from  thence,  I  will  with  pleasure  communicate 
the  result. 

The  attention  which  your  assembly  is  giving  to  the  estab- 
lishment of  public  schools,  for  the  encouragement  of  literature, 
does  them  great  honor:  to  accomplish  this,  ought  to  be  one 
of  our  first  endeavours;  I  know  of  no  object  more  interesting. 
We  want  something  to  expand  the  mind,  and  make  us  think 
with  more  liberallity,  and  act  with  sounder  policy,  than  most  of 
the  States  do.  We  should  consider  that  we  are  not  now  in  lead- 
ing strings.  It  behooves  us  therefore  to  look  well  to  our  ways. 
My  best  wishes  attend  the  Ladies  of  your  family.  I  am,  etc.34 


Mount  Vernon,  January  6, 1785. 
Dear  George:  As  Soon  as  I  got  your  letter  announcing  your 
intention  of  spending  the  Winter  at  Charleston  I  wrote  you  by 
Post,  under  cover  to  Colo.  Willm.  Washington,  and  sometime 
after  by  Mr.  Laurens,  by  whom  also  I  forwarded  the  articles  of 
clothing  you  desired  might  be  sent  to  you;  there  can  be  little 
doubt  (as  the  Post  now  goes  regularly)  of  both  getting  to  hand. 
I  need  not  therefore  repeat  any  part  of  the  contents  of  those 
Letters.  I  had  the  pleasure  to  hear  yesterday  from  Colo.  Parker 
of  Norfolk,  that  you  had  left  the  Island  of  Bermuda  with  en- 
creased  health.  I  flatter  myself  the  mildness  of  a  Southern 
Winter  will  perfectly  restore  you  in  addition  to  this,  a  trip  in 

MFrom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


the  Packet  to  Philadelphia  when  you  determine  to  return  to 
Virginia,  may  be  of  Service;  this,  at  a  proper  Season  wd.  be  I 
conceive  the  easiest,  cheapest,  and  best  method  of  getting  back 
as  the  Stage  from  Philadelphia  comes  to  Alexandria  twice  a 
week  regularly.  You  would  by  this  means  avoid  the  dreary 
roads,  and  bad  accomodation,  which  is  to  be  encountered  I 
am  told,  all  through  North  Carolina. 

Since  my  last  Colo.  Bassett  has  been  here  and  brought  up 
Fanny,  who  is  now  with  us.  She  has  been  unwell  all  the  Fall, 
as  most  others  in  this  Country  have  been;  she  is  not  yet  re- 
covered, but  the  change  of  Air  and  exercise  will  soon  give  her 

We  have  nothing  new  in  this  Quarter,  our  Assembly  has 
been  sitting  since  the  middle,  or  last  of  October;  but  we  have 
little  information  of  what  they  have  done.  A  plan  is  now  on 
foot  for  improving  and  extending  the  Navigation  of  this  River 
by  private  Subscription  and  opening  a  good  road  between  it 
and  the  nearest  Western  Waters.  I  hope  it  will  succeed;  as  the 
Assemblies  of  this  State  and  Maryld.  seem  disposed  to  give  it 
their  Countenance. 

If  it  is  not  too  late  in  the  Season  to  obtain  them,  I  wish  you 
would  procure  for  me  in  So.  Carolina  a  few  of  the  Acorns  of 
the  live  Oak,  and  the  Seeds  of  the  Evergreen  Magnolia;  this 
latter  is  called  in  Millers  Gardeners  dictionary  greater  Mag- 
nolia, it  rises  according  to  his  Acct.  to  the  height  of  Eighty 
feet  or  more,  flowers  early,  and  is  a  beautiful  tree;  there  is  an- 
other Species  of  the  Magnolia  of  which  I  wish  to  get  the  Seeds, 
it  is  called  the  Umbrella  tree;  but  unless  these  Seeds  grow  in 
cones  and  the  Cones  are  now  on  the  Trees  there  is  no  chance 
of  obtaining  them  at  this  Season;  in  which  case  prevail  on  Colo. 
Washington,  or  some  acquaintance  on  whom  you  can  depend, 
to  supply  me  next  Seed  time. 

1785]  SEEDS  AND  TREES  29 

The  Acorns  and  Seeds  of  every  kind  should  be  put  in  dry 
Sand  as  soon  as  they  are  gathered :  and  the  box  which  contains 
them  might  (if  no  oppertunity  offers  to  Alexandria)  be  sent 
either  to  Mr.  Newton  of  Norfolk  or  to  Colo.  Biddle  of  Phila- 
delphia, with  a  request  to  forward  it  safely  and  by  the  first 

If  there  are  any  other  trees  (not  natives  with  us)  which, 
would  be  ornamental  in  a  grove  or  forest  and  would  stand  our 
climate,  I  should  be  glad  to  procure  the  Seeds  of  them  in  the 
way  above  mentioned.  All  here  unite  in  best  wishes  for  you; 
and  Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  compliments  to  Colo.  Wash- 
ington and  Lady,  and  other  friends  of  our  Acquainte. 

With  great  esteem  etc. 

PS.  Your  Father  and  family  were  well  some  little  time  ago, 
and  I  have  heard  nothing  to  the  contrary  Since.35 


January  10, 1785. 

Sir:  Immediately  after  my  return  from  Annapolis,  I  wrote 
to  some  Gentlemen  of  my  acquaintance  in  the  Assembly  of 
this  State,  suggesting  the  expediency  of  a  conference  between 
Delegates  of  their  Body  and  yours,  on  the  extension  of  the  in- 
land navigation  of  the  river  Potomac,  and  its  communication 
with  the  Western  waters.  When  I  receive  an  answer,  I  will 
communicate  the  contents  of  it  to  you.  I  am,  etc. 

P.  S.  Are  you  likely  Sir,  to  ascertain  soon,  to  whom  I  am  to 
pay  the  balance  which  is  due  for  the  land  I  bought  of  the 
deceas'd  Mr.  Clifton s6  under  the  decree  of  our  high  Court  of 

35  From  a  photostat  of  the  original  through  the  kindness  of  Judge  E.  A.  Armstrong, 
of  Princeton,  N.  J. 
30  William  Clifton. 
37 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  January  15, 1785. 

Sir:  I  have  been  favored  with  two  letters  from  you:38  that 
which  was  first  written  came  last  to  hand,  and  neither  of  them 
long  since.  Your  history  and  map  of  Kentucke  I  have  not  yet 
seen.  For  the  honor  you  have  done  me  in  the  dedication  of 
them,  you  will  please  to  accept  my  acknowledgments;  and  for 
the  favourable  sentiments  you  have  been  so  polite  as  to  express 
for  me  in  both  your  letters,  you  have  my  thanks. 

It  has  long  been  my  wish  to  see  an  extensive  and  accurate 
map  of  the  Western  Territory  set  on  foot,  and  amply  encour- 
aged: but  I  would  have  this  work  founded  upon  actual  surveys 
and  careful  observations,  any  thing  short  of  these  is,  in  my 
opinion,  not  only  defective  and  of  little  use,  but  serve  as  often 
to  mislead  as  to  direct  the  examiner.  My  sentiments  upon  this 
subject  are  well  known  to  many  members  of  Congress,  and 
to  the  Legislature  of  the  State  in  which  I  have  the  honor  to  live : 
but  what  steps  will  be  taken  by  both,  or  either,  to  accomplish 
this  useful  undertaking,  is  not  for  me  to  say. 

Altho'  I  possess  a  pretty  general  knowledge  of  the  Ohio  and 
its  waters  between  Fort  Pitt  and  the  Gt.  Kanhawa,  and  have 
some  parts  of  that  Country  laid  down  from  actual  surveys;  yet 
they  are  not  so  connected,  nor  founded  with  such  precision  as 
to  incline  me  to  suffer  my  name  to  be  given  as  the  author  of 
them,  or  any  information  in  a  map  or  topographical  descrip- 
tion of  the  Country,  that  would  not  stand  the  test  of  future 

That  the  river  Potomac  communicates  by  short  portages 
(which  may  be  improved  to  great  advantage)  with  the  Yoho- 

38 Of  Nov.  30,  1784,  and  Dec.  4,  1784,  both  of  which  are  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


ghaney  and  Cheat  rivers,  (branches  of  the  Monongahela)  for 
the  countries  East  and  West  of  the  Apalachian  mountains,  as 
James  river  also  does  with  the  waters  of  the  Great  Kanhawa, 
none  can  deny:  and  that  these  will  be  the  channels  thro'  which 
the  trade  of  the  Western  Country  will  principally  come,  I  have 
no  more  doubt  of  myself,  than  the  States  of  Virga.  and  Mary- 
land had,  when  within  these  few  days,  they  passed  Laws  for 
the  purpose  of  extending  and  improving  the  navigation  of 
those  rivers,  and  opening  roads  of  communication  between 
them  and  the  western  waters. 

Whenever  business  or  inclination  may  bring  you  to  this  part 
of  the  Country,  it  would  give  me  pleasure  to  see  you.  I  am,  etc.39 


Mount  Vernon,  January  17, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  Yesterday,  and  not  before,  I  received  authentic  in- 
formation, that  the  Assembly  of  this  State  had  passed  a  similar 
Act  and  resolutions  with  those  of  your  Legislature,  and  have 
fixed  upon  the  8th.  of  Feby.  to  open  Books  for  the  purpose  of 
receiving  subscriptions  in  the  City  of  Richmond  and  Towns 
of  Alexandria  and  Winchester:  which  Books  are  to  be  kept 
open  until  the  10th.  day  of  May  following.  They  have  granted 
equal  sums  towards  the  navigation  and  roads,  with  your  As- 
sembly. I  have  pleasure  in  giving  you  this  information,  noth- 
ing remains  now  but  to  act  with  dispatch  and  vigor. 

I  presume  official  notice  of  the  passing  of  this  act,  and  attend- 
ant resolutions,  will  be  made  by  the  Executive  of  this  State  to 
your  Governor,  but  lest  thro'  the  hurry  of  business  it  may  be 
delayed,  I  will  take  care  that  he  shall  have  advice  of  it,  as  soon 
as  copies  can  be  taken;  that  if  promulgation  is  necessary,  and 

89 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


he  thinks  proper  to  act  upon  private  information,  it  may  not 
be  wanted. 

Our  Assembly  have  passed  a  similar  Law  for  the  purpose  of 
opening  and  improving  the  navigation  of  James  river  and  a 
communication  between  it,  and  the  nearest  Western  waters. 
With  great  esteem  and  regard,  I  have  the  honor,  etc.40 


Mount  Vernon,  January  17, 1785. 

Dear  Sir :  The  irregularity  of  the  post,  occasioned  by  the  frost, 
prevented  my  hearing  with  certainty  what  the  Assembly  of  this 
State  had  done  with  the  Potomac  Bill,  until  yesterday.  I  have 
now  the  pleasure  to  inform  you  that  they  have  adopted  the  one 
which  passed  your  Legislature,  and  come  to  similar  resolu- 
tions respecting  the  road  of  communication  with  the  river 
Cheat,  and  the  application  to  the  State  of  Pennsylvania  for 
another  to  Yohioghaney.  They  have  also  passed  a  similar  act 
for  improving  and  extending  the  navigation  of  James  river. 

As  you  expressed  a  desire  to  know  what  the  Assembly  of  this 
State  had  done,  or  were  about  to  do  respecting  an  establishment 
for  the  teachers  of  religion,  I  do  myself  the  honor  to  enclose  you 
a  copy  of  their  proceedings  in  that  matter;  and  am,  etc.40 


Mount  Vernon,  January  18, 1785. 
Gentln.  At  my  return  from  Alexandria  yesterday  afternoon, 
I  found  the  letters  and  papers  herewith  enclosed.41  I  sent  the 
whole,  as  well  private  as  public,  the  former  for  your  satisfac- 
tion, the  latter  for  you  to  act  upon. 

40 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Taper s. 

"The  papers  sent  with  this  letter  are  listed  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington 


As  these,  with  the  Maryland  act  and  resolutions  which  I  left 
in  the  hands  of  Mr.  Lee42  for  the  purpose  of  communicating 
them  to  the  Gentn.  in  town  (well  wishers  to  the  inland  naviga- 
tion of  the  river  &c.)  contain  all  the  information  on  the  subject, 
I  could  give,  I  beg  leave  to  refer  you  to  them. 

All  the  papers,  except  the  Virginia  Act,  which  are  necessary 
for  Mr.  Richards43  to  strike  printed  copies  from,  I  should  be 
glad  to  have  returned  to  me  in  the  course  of  two  or  three  days, 
as  I  shall  have  letters  to  write,  and  other  matters  to  do,  in  con- 
sequence thereof.  It  should  be  intimated  to  the  printer  that 
the  Bill  is  an  original  paper,  and  spared  indulgently  from  the 
Clerks  office:  great  care  therefore  should  be  taken  that  no 
scratches  or  blots  are  suffered  to  be  made  thereon.  The  number 
of  copies  to  be  struck  will  depend  upon  you  Gentleman,  the 
time  for  promulgation,  and  obtaining  subscriptions  is  short, 
the  former  therefore  should  be  as  extensive  and  diffusive  as  the 
nature  of  the  case  will  admit.  With  what  materials  the  Man- 
agers at  the  City  of  Richmond  and  town  of  Winchester  are  to 
commence  their  operations,  does  not  seem  very  clear;  it  rests 
with  you  therefore  I  conceive,  to  put  things  in  motion,  at  least 
by  opening  a  correspondence  with  the  Gentlemen  at  these 
places,  fixing  a  plan.  It  appears  to  me  also,  that  a  notification 
of  the  passing  of  this  act  and  consequent  resolutions  should  go 
immediately  to  the  Executive  of  Maryland,  from  some  quarter; 
otherwise  that  State  may  take  umbrage,  and  think  advantage 
on  the  score  of  subscriptions,  is  meant  to  be  taken  of  her  Citi- 
zens. From  our  Governor,  such  intimation  ought,  in  my  opin- 
ion, to  be  given;  but  it  does  not  appear  by  anything  before  us, 
that  it  either  has  been,  or  is  intended  to  be  done.  Therefore  as 

^Charles  Lee.  He  acted  as  clerk  of  the  Alexandria  meeting  at  which  the  Potomac 
Company  was  organized. 

George  Richard.   He  was  publisher  of  The  Virginia  Journal  and  Alexandria  Ad- 
vertiser, Alexandria,  Va. 


the  Acts  and  resolutions  of  both  Assemblies  are  now  with  you, 
if  you  will  cause  a  comparative  view  to  be  taken  of  them,  and 
note  the  alterations,  that  I  may  write  with  exactitude,  I  will 
communicate  the  matter  to  Govr.  Paca,  lest  there  should  be 
neglect  or  delay  on  the  part  of  our  Executive,  or  if  you  will  do 
it,  it  may  answer  the  same  purpose. 

How  far  Mr.  Maddison  might  have  intended  the  paper  No. 
344  for  the  public  eye,  I  know  not ;  I  would  have  no  copies  there- 
fore taken  of  it,  as  communication  of  its  contents  might  come 
better  from  those  who  are  to  act  under  it.  I  have  the  honor,  etc. 

P.  S.  If  a  printed  Copy  of  the  Virginia  Act  could  be  soon 
obtained,  I  would  enclose  one  of  them  to  the  Governor  of 
Maryland,  and  a  copy  of  the  corrispondent  resolutions  of  this 
State  to  that  of  Maryland;  which  would  be  the  fullest  and  best 
information  he  cou'd  receive  unofficially.45 


Mount  Vernon,  January  22, 1785. 
My  dear  Sir:  It  is  not  easy  for  me  to  decide  by  which  my 
mind  was  most  affected  upon  the  receipt  of  your  letter  of  the 
6th.  inst.,  surprise  or  gratitude:  both  were  greater  than  I  have 
words  to  express.  The  attention  and  good  wishes  which  the 
Assembly  have  evidenced  by  their  act  for  vesting  in  me  150 
shares  in  the  navigation  of  each  of  the  rivers  Potomac  and 
James,  are  more  than  mere  compliment;  there  is  an  unequivo- 
cal and  substantial  meaning  annexed.  But  believe  me  sir,  not- 
withstanding these,  no  circumstance  has  happened  to  me  since 
I  left  the  walks  of  public  life,  which  has  so  much  embarrassed 
me.  On  the  one  hand,  I  consider  this  act,  as  I  have  already 

44  A  paper  by  Madison  "  Respecting  the  Jurisdiction  &c  of  Potomac." 
45 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
48 Speaker  of  the  House  of  Delegates,  Virginia. 

1785]  GIFT  OF  STOCK  35 

observed,  as  a  noble  and  unequivocal  proof  of  the  good  opinion, 
the  affection,  and  disposition  of  my  Country  to  serve  me;  and 
I  should  be  hurt,  if  by  declining  the  acceptance  of  it,  my  refusal 
should  be  construed  into  disrespect,  or  the  smallest  slight  upon 
the  generous  intention  of  the  country :  or,  that  an  ostentatious 
display  of  disinterestedness  or  public  virtue,  was  the  source  of 
the  refusal.  On  the  other  hand,  it  is  really  my  wish  to  have  my 
mind,  and  my  actions  which  are  the  result  of  contemplation, 
as  free  and  independent  as  the  air,  that  I  may  be  more  at  lib- 
erty (in  things  which  my  opportunities  and  experience  have 
brought  me  to  the  knowledge  of)  to  express  my  sentiments, 
and  if  necessary,  to  suggest  what  may  occur  to  me,  under  the 
fullest  conviction,  that  altho'  my  judgment  may  be  arraigned, 
there  will  be  no  suspicion  that  sinister  motives  had  the  smallest 
influence  in  the  suggestion.  Not  content  then  with  the  bare 
consciousness  of  my  having,  in  all  this  navigation  business, 
acted  upon  the  clearest  conviction  of  the  political  importance 
of  the  measure;  I  would  wish  that  every  individual  who  may 
hear  that  it  was  a  favorite  plan  of  mine,  may  know  also  that  I 
had  no  other  motive  for  promoting  it,  than  the  advantage  I  con- 
ceived it  would  be  productive  of  to  the  Union,  and  to  this  State 
in  particular,  by  cementing  the  Eastern  and  Western  Territory 
together,  at  the  same  time  that  it  will  give  vigor  and  encrease 
to  our  commerce,  and  be  a  convenience  to  our  Citizens. 

How  would  this  matter  be  viewed  then  by  the  eye  of  the 
world;  and  what  would  be  the  opinion  of  it,  when  it  comes  to 

be  related  that  G  W n  exerted  himself  to  effect  this  work, 

and  G.  W has  received  20,000  Dollars,  and  ^5,000  Sterling 

of  the  public  money  as  an  interest  therein  ?  Would  not  this  in 
the  estimation  of  it  (if  I  am  entitled  to  any  merit  for  the  part 
I  have  acted;  and  without  it  there  is  no  foundation  for  the 
act)  deprive  me  of  the  principal  thing  which  is  laudable  in  my 


conduct  ?  Would  it  not,  in  some  respects,  be  considered  in  the 
same  light  as  a  pension  ?  And  would  not  the  apprehension  of 
this  make  me  more  reluctantly  offer  my  sentiments  in  future  ? 
In  a  word,  under  what  ever  pretence,  and  however  customary 
these  gratuitous  gifts  are  made  in  other  Countries,  should  I  not 
thence  forward  be  considered  as  a  dependant  ?  One  moments 
thought  of  which  would  give  me  more  pain,  than  I  should  re- 
ceive pleasure  from  the  product  of  all  the  tolls,  was  every  farth- 
ing of  them  vested  in  me :  altho'  I  consider  it  as  one  of  the  most 
certain  and  increasing  Estates  in  the  Country. 

I  have  written  to  you  with  an  openness  becoming  our  friend- 
ship. I  could  have  said  more  on  the  subject;  but  I  have  already 
said  enough  to  let  you  into  the  State  of  my  mind.  I  wish  to 
know  whether  the  ideas  I  entertain  occurred  to,  and  were  ex- 
pressed by  any  member  in  or  out  of  the  House.  Upon  the 
whole,  you  may  be  assured  my  Dr.  Sir,  that  my  mind  is  not  a 
little  agitated.  I  want  the  best  information  and  advice  to  settle 
it.  I  have  no  inclination  (as  I  have  already  observed)  to  avail 
myself  of  the  generosity  of  the  Country:  nor  do  I  want  to  ap- 
pear ostentatiously  disinterested  (for  more  than  probable  my 
refusal  would  be  ascribed  to  this  motive)  or  that  the  Country 
should  harbour  an  idea  that  I  am  disposed  to  set  little  value 
on  her  favours,  the  manner  of  granting  which  is  as  flattering, 
as  the  grant  is  important.  My  present  difficulties  however  shall 
be  no  impediment  to  the  progress  of  the  undertaking.  I  will 
receive  the  full  and  frank  opinions  of  my  friends  with  thank- 
fulness. I  shall  have  time  enough  between  the  sitting  of  the 
next  Assembly  to  consider  the  tendency  of  the  act,  and  in  this, 
as  in  all  other  matters,  will  endeavor  to  decide  for  the  best. 

My  respectful  compliments  and  best  wishes,  in  which  Mrs. 
Washington  and  Fanny  Bassett  (who  is  much  recovered)  join, 
are  offered  to  Mrs.  Harrison  and  the  rest  of  your  family.  It 


would  give  us  great  pleasure  to  hear  that  Mrs.  Harrison  had 
her  health  restored  to  her.  With  every  sentiment  of  esteem,  re- 
gard and  friendship.  I  am,  etc.47 


Mount  Vernon,  January  22, 1785. 

Dear  Sir :  Your  letter,  with  the  Books,  Potomac  bill  and  other 
papers,  did  not  reach  this  until  past  eleven  o'clock  on  Monday 
forenoon;  at  which  hour  having  set  off  for  Alexandria,  I  did 
not  receive  the  dispatches  until  my  return  in  the  evening.  The 
next  morning  I  forwarded  the  Bill  to  Messrs.  Fitzgerald,  Harts- 
horn to  act  upon,  and  to  get  a  number  of  copies  struck  for  pro- 
mulgation, and  the  benefit  of  those  who  might  wish  to  become 
subscribers.  For  the  trouble  you  have  had  with  the  Books  and 
for  your  care  of  the  letters  and  papers  which  accompanied 
them,  you  will  please  to  accept  my  thanks. 

It  would  have  given  me  much  satisfaction  if,  instead  of  pur- 
suing the  rout  thro'  Frederick,  you  had  resolved  to  have  taken 
this  road  to  the  seat  of  Congress:  besides  the  pleasure  of  seeing 
you,  I  wished  to  have  had  some  conversation  with  you  on  the 
subject  of  the  late  generosity  of  the  Assembly  towards  me;  for  I 
will  freely  confess  to  you  my  dear  sir,  that  no  circumstance 
has  happened  to  me  since  I  quited  the  walks  of  public  life  that 
has  given  me  more  embarrassment,  than  the  act  vesting  me  with 
150  shares  in  the  tolls  of  each  of  the  rivers  Potomac  and  James. 
On  the  one  hand  I  consider  this  instance  of  the  regard  and  at- 
tention of  my  native  State  as  more  than  a  mere  compliment: 
this  evidence  of  her  good  opinion  and  wishes  to  serve  me  is  un- 
equivocal and  substantial,  it  has  impressed  me  with  sentiments 

47 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


of  the  deepest  gratitude,  and  I  should  be  hurt,  if  I  could  think 
that  my  non-acceptance  .  .  .48 

Did  you  not  my  good  Sir  tell  me  when  I  had  the  pleasure  of 
spending  an  evening  with  you  at  Dumfries,  that  you  either  had 
or  could  procure  me  some  Scions  of  the  Aspin  tree  ?  Are  there 
any  young  shoots  which  could  he  had  of  the  Yew  tree,  or  Hem- 
lock (for  I  do  not  now  recollect  which  of  these  it  is)  that  grows 
on  the  Margin  of  Quantico  Creek  ?  Plantations  of  this  kind  are 
now  become  my  amusement  and  I  should  be  glad  to  know 
where  I  could  obtain  a  supply  of  such  sorts  of  trees  as  would 
diversify  the  scene.  With  great  esteem  and  regard,  I  am,  etc.49 


Mount  Vernon,  January  22,  1785. 

Dear  Bushrod:  The  enclosed  letter  was  brought  here  some 
days  ago.  I  desire  you  will  present  Mr.  Ryan's  note  to  him  for 
payment;  which,  if  not  immediately  made,  or  such  assurances 
as  you  can  rely  on,  that  he  will  make  in  a  very  short  time,  return 
it  to  me  or  Mr.  Rumsey,50  if  he  is  in  Richmond,  as  I  do  not 
incline  to  transfer  the  debt  from  him  to  Ryan.  It  was  not  my 
intention  to  receive  an  order  upon  any  one,  for  the  Sum  con- 
tained in  the  Note.  It  was  sent  about  the  time  it  became  due  to 
Mr.  Henderson51  (one  of  the  Members  for  this  Country)  to 
receive  for  me,  who  not  having  an  oppertunity  of  presenting  it 
(on  Acct.  of  Mr.  Ryans  indisposition  at  Petersburgh)  returned 
it  to  me  a  few  days  since. 

As  you  are  now  at  the  fountain  head  of  information,  I  should 
be  glad  if  you  would  examine  into,  and  send  me  a  Copy  of 

48  The  omitted  portion  is  practically  the  same  as  Washington's  letter  to  Benjamin 
Harrison,  the  same  date  as  this  letter  (Jan.  22,  1785),  q.  v. 
49 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
m  James  Rumsey. 
"Richard  Henderson. 

1785]  PLASTER    OF  PARIS  39 

some  Ordainance  which  must  have  passed  (according  to  Colo. 
Crawfords  letter  to  me)  at  the  Session  next  preceeding  the  20th. 
of  Septr.  1776.  (which  is  the  date  of  that  letter). 

There  are  some  other  little  matters  which  I  wanted  you  to  do 
for  me  in  Richmond,  but  they  have  escaped  my  recollection  at 
this  moment;  when  they  occur  again,  I  will  write,  the  Ordi- 
nance above,  may  be  necessary  in  the  prosecution  of  my  Eject- 
ments over  the  Mountains,  as  Colo.  Crawford  in  his  letter  to 
me  says,  It  passed  with  an  eye  to  such  cases  as  mine,  upon  his 

All  here  join  in  best  wishes  for  you,  and  I  am  etc.52 


January  22,  1785. 

Sir :  Understanding  that  Mr.  Wilson  of  Alexandria  was  em- 
power'd  to  sell  the  plaister  of  Paris  which  you  had  just  sent  to 

that  place,  I  informed  him  by  Mr.  L.  W 53  of  the  mistake 

under  which  a  vessel  load  of  it  had  been  landed  at  my  wharf, 
but  that,  as  it  was  there,  I  was  willing  to  pay  for  it  at  the  same 
rate  as  that  which  was  in  Alexandria  should  sell.  To  this,  some 
considerable  time  after  (if  my  memory  serves)  he  answered, 
that  the  matter  must  be  settled  with  you. 

It  now  remains  for  me  sir,  to  bring  you  acquainted  with  the 
exact  state  of  this  matter,  and  on  which  you  may  depend.  On 
my  return  from  Richmond  in  Novr.  last,  Mr.  Graham54  in- 
formed me  that  you  had  received  (I  think  he  said)  about  50  tons 
of  this  stone,  and  asked  if  I  wanted  any  of  it.  I  answered  that 
I  might  take  a  little  of  it,  at  any  rate,  merely  for  experiment 
as  a  manure;  but  that  taking  a  large  quantity,  would  depend 

62  From  a  photostat  of  the  originally  kindly  furnished  by  William  Smith  Mason,  of 
Evanston,  111. 

83  Lund  Washington. 

MRobert(?)  Graham,  of  Fairfax,  Va. 


altogether  upon  the  price  of  it,  of  which  he  was  to  know  the 
lowest,  and  give  me  an  account.  Under  this  idea,  and  wait- 
ing for  this  information,  I  left  no  direction  concerning  this 
matter  when  I  accompanied  the  Marquis  de  la  Fayette  to  An- 
napolis, during  my  absence  there,  the  plaister  arrived:  those 
about  me  not  knowing  what  to  do  in  the  matter,  and  suppos- 
ing, I  presume,  that  I  had  ordered  it,  suffered  it  to  be  landed: 
which  I  most  assuredly  would  not  have  done;  had  I  been  at 
home,  at  any  thing  like  the  price  mentioned  in  Mr.  Grahams 

The  plaister  is  yet  on  my  wharf  in  the  order  it  was  first 
landed,  except  that  I  had  the  powdered  part  of  it,  the  virtue  of 
which  (if  it  ever  possessed  any  as  a  manure)  I  presume  must 
have  been  nearly  exhausted,  put  into  casks.  I  am  yet  willing 
to  take  it  at  whatever  price  that  which  is  in  Alexandria  shall 
sell;  or  at  any  reasonable  price  to  be  agreed  upon  between  our- 
selves, or  by  others  on  our  behalf.  More  I  think  under  the  cir- 
cumstances I  have  related,  no  person  will  think  I  ought  to  pay. 
Twelve  Dollars  per  ton,  I  never  can  consent  to  give;  nor  do  I 
think  you  would  desire  it,  when  I  inform  you  that  before  the 
war,  I  got  all  I  wanted  from  Fitzhughs55  in  Maryland  for  dig- 
ging out  of  the  Bank;  and  that  it  never  was,  nor  can  be  con- 
sidered as  of  much  more  value  than  lime-stone,  being  of  the 
nature  of  it.  lam,  etc.56 


Mount  Vernon,  January  25, 1785. 
Sir:  In  your  name  and  behalf  Mr.  Laurens,5S  as  he  passed 
thro'  this  State  last  month  on  his  way  from  the  seat  of  Congress 

55  William  Fitzhugh. 

MFrom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

67  Of  London. 

68  Henry  Laurens. 


to  Charleston  presented  me  a  very  handsome  gold  headed 
Cane;  and  accompanied  it  with  such  favorable  sentiments  of 
your  good  wishes  towards  the  American  revolution,  and  the 
flattering  opinion  you  entertained  of  me,  as  to  induce  me,  con- 
trary to  my  usual  custom,  to  accept  of  it.  With  this  acknowl- 
edgment thereof,  I  beg  you  to  receive  my  thanks  for  so  evincive 
a  mark  of  your  esteem  and  approbation,  and  the  assurances  of 
my  being,  Sir,  Yrs.  etc.59 


Mount  Vernon,  January  25, 1785. 

Sir:  By  means  of  the  frost,  and  the  consequent  interruption 
of  the  Post,  your  favor  of  the  20th.  of  December  did  not  come 
to  my  hands  until  the  17th.  instant.  It  is  to  be  regretted  that 
Lady  Huntingtons  communications  were  not  earlier  made  to 
the  several  Legislatures  to  whom  they  were  addressed;  for  if 
the  circumstances  of  any  will  allow  them  to  be  adopted,  it  will 
be  found  that  a  year  will  have  been  lost  by  the  delay.  In  some 
States,  they  must  have  reached  the  Executive  after  the  Assem- 
blies were  up;  in  others,  would  get  there  towards  the  close  of 
them,  when  fresh  matters  are  rarely  attended  to,  and  some 
Sessions  (as  in  this  State)  holden  but  once  a  year. 

I  am  clearly  in  sentiment  with  her  Ladyship,  that  Christianity 
will  never  make  any  progress  among  the  Indians,  or  work  any 
considerable  reformation  in  their  principles,  until  they  are 
brought  to  a  state  of  greater  civilization;  and  the  mode  by 
which  she  means  to  attempt  this,  as  far  as  I  have  been  able  to 
give  it  consideration,  is  as  likely  to  succeed  as  any  other  that 
could  have  been  devised,  and  may  in  time  effect  the  great  and 
benevolent  object  of  her  Ladyships  wishes :  but  that  love  of  ease, 

69 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


impatience  under  any  sort  of  controul,  and  disinclination  to 
every  kind  of  pursuit  but  those  of  hunting  and  war,  would 
discourage  any  person  possessed  of  less  piety,  zeal  and  philan- 
throphy  than  are  characteristick  of  Lady  Huntington. 

Of  all  the  States  to  which  her  Ladyships  addresses  are  gone, 
New  York  I  believe  is  the  only  one  that  now  possesses  unlo- 
cated  lands  in  such  quantities,  and  so  contiguous  to  any  Indian 
settlement,  as  to  subserve  her  Ladyships  plan  of  emigration; 
and  whether  that  State  can  accommodate  them  to  her  and  their 
satisfaction,  you  can  determine  with  more  precision  than  I. 
No  part  of  the  Western  Territory  of  Pennsylvania  is  very  con- 
tiguous to  the  habitations  of  the  Indians,  and  if  I  mistake  not, 
is  besides  otherwise  appropriated.  Virginia  is  not  more  con- 
venient to  them  than  Pennsylvania,  and  in  her  cession  to  the 
United  States  she  was  obliged  to  reserve  Lands  No.  West  of 
the  Ohio  to  fulfil  her  own  engagements  to  the  military  of  the 
State:  nothing  then,  in  my  opinion  can  be  expected  from  her. 
And  North  Carolina  having  also  made  a  similar  cession  is  I 
believe,  equally  incapacitated  to  grant  any  great  quantity  of 
land  in  a  body,  or  much  in  parcels.  It  is  my  opinion  therefore, 
that  Lady  Huntington's  proposals  would  come  more  properly 
before  the  United  States,  than  any  one,  or  more  of  them  indi- 
vidually; and  it  is  my  sentiment  clearly,  that  besides  the  pious 
and  humane  purposes  which  are  in  view,  and  of  which  we 
should  never  lose  sight,  motives  of  a  political  nature,  should 
have  considerable  influence,  because  such  a  migration  as  her 
ladyship  proposes  must  be  an  acquisition  to  any  Country.  There 
are  but  two  reasons  which  my  imagination  suggests  that  can  be 
opposed  to  it :  the  first  is,  the  pressing  Debts  of  the  United  States 
which  may  call  for  all  the  revenue  which  can  be  drawn  from 
the  most  advantageous  sale  of  their  lands,  and  the  discontents 
which  might  flow  from  discrimination;  if  peculiar  exemptions 


in  the  original  purchase,  or  indulgencies  thereafter,  are  ex- 
pected in  favor  of  the  class  of  Settlers  proposed  by  the  plan. 
And  secondly,  (which  may  have  more  weight)  the  prejudices 
of  Monarchical  people  when  they  are  unmixed  with  republi- 
cans, against  those  who  have  separated  from  them,  and  against 
their  forms  of  Government;  and  this  too  in  the  vicinity  of  a 
British  one,  viz:  Canada.  Whether  these  are  to  be  placed  in 
competition  with  the  charitable  design  of  the  plan,  considered 
in  a  religeous  point  of  view;  or  the  great  good  which  may  result 
from  the  civilization  of  numerous  tribes  of  Savages  when  meas- 
ured on  the  political  scale,  becomes  the  wisdom  of  the  honor- 
able body  to  weigh  with  attention. 

If  they  should  decide  in  favor  of  the  measure,  valuable  Lands 
with  respect  to  fertility  of  soil,  salubrity  of  climate  and  other 
natural  advantages  might,  in  one  body,  and  in  any  quantity 
may  be  reserved  for  the  purposes  of  such  emigration,  until  the 
result  of  her  Ladyship,  endeavors  to  obtain  them,  could  be 
known;  and  this  too  either  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Indian  towns, 
or  at  such  convenient  distance  from  them  as  might  be  most 
agreeable  to  the  emigrants,  there  being  no  settlements  or  ap- 
propriations (except  the  reservation  in  favor  of  the  Virginia 
line  of  the  Army)  to  my  knowledge  in  all  the  Country  No. 
West  of  the  Ohio,  that  could  interfere  therewith. 

As  I  am  well  acquainted  with  the  President  of  Congress,  I 
will  in  the  course  of  a  few  days  write  him  a  private  letter  on  this 
subject  giving  the  substance  of  Lady  Huntington's  plan60  and 
asking  his  opinion  of  the  encouragement  it  might  expect  to 
receive  from  Congress  if  it  should  be  brought  before  that 
honorable  body.  Were  you  to  do  the  same  with  your  brother 
Mr.  John  Jay  now  in  Congress,  and  than  whom  none  can  judge 
better  of  the  propriety  of  the  measure,  or  give  greater  support 

80 Under  date  of  Feb.  8,  1785,  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


to  it  if  it  should  ultimately  come  before  that  supreme  Council 
of  the  nation,  it  might  lay  the  foundation  which  might  be  serv- 
iceable hereafter. 

Without  reverberating  the  arguments  in  support  of  the  hu- 
mane and  benevolent  intention  of  Lady  Huntington  to  chris- 
tianize and  reduce  to  a  state  of  civilization  the  Savage  tribes 
within  the  limits  of  the  American  States,  or  discanting  upon  the 
advantages  which  the  Union  may  derive  from  the  Emigration 
which  is  blended  with,  and  becomes  part  of  the  plan,  I  highly 
approve  of  them,  and  having,  tho'  concisely,  touched  upon  the 
material  parts  of  your  letter,  it  only  remains  for  me  to  express 
my  good  wishes  for  the  success  of  such  a  measure,  and  to  assure 
you  that  wherein  I  can  be  instrumental  to  its  execution,  my  best 
endeavours  may  be  commanded.  I  have  the  honor,  etc.81 


Mount  Vernon,  January  30, 1785. 

Madam :  By  what  means  it  came  to  pass,  I  shall  not  undertake 
to  devise;  but  the  fact  is,  that  your  letter  of  the  8th.  of  December 
1783,  never  got  to  my  hands  until  the  12th.  of  the  same  Month 
in  the  year  following.  This  will  account  for  my  not  having 
acknowledged  the  receipt  of  it  sooner;  and  for  not  thanking 
you  as  I  now  do,  before,  for  the  many  flattering  expressions  con- 
tained in  it. 

If  the  Bust  which  your  Son  has  modelled  of  me,  should  reach 
your  hands,  and  afford  your  celebrated  Genii  any  employment, 
that  can  amuse  Mrs.  Wright,  it  must  be  an  honor  done  me.  and 
if  your  inclination  to  return  to  this  Country  should  overcome 

61  From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

On  January  27  Washington  wrote  a  brief  note  to  Gov.  William  Moultrie,  introduc- 
ing Count  Castiglioni,  an  Italian  nobleman.  This  letter  is  in  the  Long  Island  Histori- 
cal Society. 

1785]  A  PORTRAIT  BUST  45 

other  considerations,  you  will,  no  doubt,  meet  a  welcome  re- 
ception from  your  Numerous  friends:  among  whom,  I  should 
be  proud  to  see  a  person  so  universally  celebrated;  and  on 
whom,  Nature  has  bestowed  such  rare  and  uncommon  gifts. 
I  am,  etc.62 


Mount  Vernon,  January  30, 1785. 

Sir:  It  has  so  happened  that  your  Card  of  Septr.  1st,  with  the 
Bust  which  accompanied  it,  did  not  get  to  my  hands  until 
sometime  in  the  course  of  last  month :  and  that  a  letter  from 
your  good  mother  dated  Deer.  8th.  1783,  only  reached  me  the 
12th.  of  last  December. 

For  the  first  you  will  please  receive  the  united  acknowledge- 
ments and  thanks  of  Mrs.  Washington  and  myself.  The  large 
one  she  prays  may  give  you  no  uneasiness  or  hurry;  your  con- 
venience in  the  execution  will  be  most  agreeable  to  her  wishes. 

In  answer  to  the  second,  I  give  you  the  trouble  of  forwarding 
the  enclosed  letter  when  you  may  have  occasion  to  write  to 
England,  our  best  wishes  attend  you;  and  I  am,  etc.63 


Mount  Vernon,  January  31, 1785. 

Sir:  The  interruption  of  the  Post  by  the  frost,  withheld  your 
letter  of  the  31st.  Ulto.  from  me  until  within  a  few  days. 

The  liberty  you  have  taken  in  dedicating  your  Poetical 
Works  to  me,  does  me  honor.  The  conditions  upon  which  you 
offer  them  to  the  Public  are  generous,  evincive  of  their  purity, 

82 From  a  photostat  of  the  original  in  the  British  Museum,  Additional  Manuscript 

03 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


and  conscious  worth.  I  shall  with  pleasure  therefore  take  a  few 
copies  of  the  bound  and  lettered  Books,  when  they  are  ready 
for  delivery. 

It  behoves  me  to  correct  a  mistake  in  your  printed  address, 
"To  the  patrons  of  the  fine  Arts"  I  am  no  Marshall  of  France,64 
nor  do  I  hold  any  Commission,  or  fill  any  Office  under  that 
Government,  or  any  other  whatever.  I  am  etc.  [h.s.p.] 


Mount  Vernon,  January  31, 1785. 

My  Dr.  Sir :  Under  a  full  persuasion  that  my  letter  of  Novr., 
to  you,  had  miscarried,  I  wrote  to  you  again  by  the  last  post, 
and  recited  the  contents  of  it.  After  having  done  this,  I  was 
honored  with  your  favor  of  the  14th.  of  last  month. 

At  the  same  time  that  I  thank  you  for  your  attention  to  my 
request  respecting  the  Orchard  grass  seed;  I  have  to  lament 
that  it  should  be  the  means  of  taking  from  you  what  you  had 
provided  for  your  own  use;  and  to  pray,  if  it  is  not  now  too  late, 
that  you  would  not  forward  it  to  Colo.  Biddle,  or  at  most,  not 
more  than  part  of  it.  I  can  only  repeat  the  assurances  of  my 
last,  in  which  Mrs.  Washington  (who  does  not  enjoy  very 
good  health)  joins,  of  the  good  wishes  and  sincere  esteem  and 
regard  with  which,  I  am,  etc.65 


Mount  Vernon,  January  31,  1785. 
Sir:  Altho'  I  have  no  doubt,  but  that  your  Excellency  has 
been,  or  will  be  informed  of  the  Act  of  the  Virginia  Assembly 

wLamont's  preface  is  probably  partially  responsible  for  the  existence  of  the  misstate- 
ment that  Washington  was  a  marshal  of  France. 

60 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  A   CERTIFICATE  47 

respecting  the  Potomac  navigation,  from  the  Governor  of  the 
State;  yet,  as  the  Act  could  not  be  printed  at  Richmond  for  the 
benefit  of  the  Managers  in  time,  and  was  brought  to  Alexan- 
dria for  that  purpose.  And  as  a  pressure  of  other  public  matters 
may  possibly  have  delayed  the  Official  communication.  I  do 
myself  the  honor  of  enclosing  one  of  the  copies  which  was 
struck  at  the  above  place,  and  which  only  came  to  my  hands 
to  be  forwarded  by  this  post.  If  it  should  be  the  first  that  you 
receive,  you  will  have  it  in  your  power  to  make  such  use  of  it 
as  you  shall  think  proper :  if  it  should  follow  the  Official  one,  I 
have  but  to  pray  that  it  may  be  considered  as  an  evidence  of  my 
good  wishes  to  the  undertaking,  and  not  as  an  officious  interfer- 
ence in  the  business  of  the  Executive.  I  have  the  honor,  etc.66 


Mount  Vernon,  January  31, 1785. 

Sir:  The  interruption  of  the  Post,  by  the  frost,  will  occasion 
a  delay  of  this  answer,  which  otherwise  would  have  been 

Not  being  able  to  decypher  the  name  of  the  Merchant  in 
London,  to  whose  care  you  desired  my  letter  to  your  brother 
might  be  addressed,  I  send  the  enclosed  certificate67  for  him, 
under  cover  to  you. 

I  thank  you  for  your  kind  and  friendly  wishes,  and  with 
Mrs.  Washington's  compliments  to  Mrs.  Hay  and  yourself, 
and  a  return  of  friendly  sentiments,  I  am,  etc.68 

66 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

67A  copy  of  this  certificate,  dated  Feb.  1,  1785,  is  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Wash- 
ington Papers,  to  the  effect  that  "  Neither  directly,  nor  indirectly  to  my  knowledge  or 
belief,  did  I  ever  obtain  the  least  information  of  the  state  of  the  British  forces,  or  other 
concerns  of  theirs  in  Canada,  from  Mr.  Charles  Hay,  a  subject  of  Great  Britain  under 
that  Government." 

68 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  February  i,  1785. 

Dear  Sir:  I  have  been  favored  with  your  letter  of  the  first  of 
last  month,  by  Doctr.  Gilpin  and  Mr.  Scott.69  Mr.  Colby,  they 
informed  me  remained  indisposed  at  Baltimore.  It  will  always 
give  me  pleasure  to  see  any  Gentleman  of  your  introduction. 
No  apology  therefore  need  ever  accompany  it. 

Having  begun  a  letter  to  you,  I  will  take  the  liberty  of  sug- 
gesting a  matter  for  your  consideration;  which,  if  it  strikes  you, 
in  the  important  light  it  does  me,  and  it  is  likely  to  be  realized, 
you  may  profit  by:  if  it  does  not,  I  hope  at  the  same  time 
that  you  may  arraign  my  foresight,  or  charge  me  with  being 
too  sanguine,  you  will  do  justice  to  my  motives:  these,  let  me 
assure  you,  are  friendly  and  pure. 

No  doubt,  before  this  letter  can  have  reached  you,  you  will 
have  heard,  that  the  States  of  Virginia  and  Maryland  have 
enacted  laws  for  the  purposes  of  opening  and  extending  the 
navigations  of  the  rivers  Potomac  and  James,  as  far  as  is  prac- 
ticable; and  communicating  them  by  good  roads  with  the 
nearest  navigable  waters  (for  inland  craft)  to  the  Westward; 
the  first,  to  be  undertaken  by  corporate  companies  with  public 
aids:  the  other  at  public  expence. 

The  tolls  which  are  granted  to  encourage  the  first  of  these, 
are  in  my  judgment,  fully  adequate  to  the  purpose,  as  a  candid 
man,  I  think  them  too  high,  considering  the  harvest  which  the 
public  is  preparing  for  the  adventures  in  that  undertaking,  by 
opening  a  communication  between  the  Atlantic  and  Western 
Territory:  but  the  importance  of  the  object,  considered  either 
in  a  commercial  or  political  point  of  view  is  so  great,  the  com- 

68  From  the  West  Indies. 



bination  of  favourable  circumstances  at  this  epocha  so  many, 
and  the  abilities  of  the  two  States  under  their  present  pressure 
of  debts,  so  incompetent  to  a  work  of  this  sort  (even  if  it  had 
been  judged  the  best  mode),  that  to  commence  it  without  delay 
it  was  thought  best  to  offer  a  productive  field  to  those  who  are 
disposed  to  labour  therein.  And  if  I  live  to  see  the  issue,  I  will, 
if  it  does  not  prove  so,  acknowledge  myself  more  mistaken  than 
I  ever  was  before,  in  any  speculative  point. 

I  do  not  advance  this  doctrine  my  good  sir,  with  a  view  to 
stimulate  you  to  become  a  subscriber.  If  I  was  disposed  to  do 
this  at  the  hazard  of  deception,  I  see  not  the  occasion  for  it  in 
the  case  before  us;  for  it  is  more  the  expectation  at  present,  that 
a  redundency  than  a  deficiency,  will  take  place  upon  the  open- 
ing of  subscriptions  for  this  river :  And  because  your  own  judg- 
ment and  convenience  can  best  determine  to  what  amount,  or 
whether  to  subscribe  anything  towards  the  execution  of  this 
plan.  There  are  some  things  however,  of  which  some  men  have 
better  opportunities  to  form  opinions  than  others;  and  of  the 
intercourse  which  this  work  is  likely  to  open  between  the  tide 
water  of  this  river  and  the  greatest  extent  of  back  Country 
within  the  United  States.  I  have  as  good  means  to  judge  from 
as  most  men,  and  every  proof  that  nature,  and  reflection  upon 
its  bountious  gifts  can  adduce,  to  convince  me  that  there  is  no 
field  for  commerce  equal  to  it,  if  extent  of  Country,  population, 
and  produce  with  the  conveniences  of  transportation,  are  essen- 
tial to  the  encouragement  and  support  of  it.  But  these  want  to 
be  embraced.  This  however,  will  not  much  longer  be  the  case, 
a  Mercantile  eye  is  penetrating,  and  the  first  capital  House,  that 
is  established  may  form  connexions,  and  lay  a  sure  foundation 
of  trade  to  the  greatest  possible  extent  from  the  upper  sea 
ports  of  this  river. 


No  man  who  has  any  knowledge  of  the  river  Potomac,  har- 
bours a  doubt  of  the  practicability  of  its  navigation  from  the 
great  Falls  to  Fort  Cumberland,  (about  200  miles)  and  for  40 
miles  higher;  and  it  is  but  very  few  only  who  have  any  doubt 
of  the  practicability  of  opening  it  from  the  great  Falls,  (in- 
clusive) to  tide  water,  which  is  under  9  miles.  The  acts  I  have 
spoken  of  are  to  encourage  and  authorise  these;  and,  as  I  have 
observed  before,  sufficient  priviledges  and  immunities  are 
granted  for  the  purpose. 

From  Fort  Cumberland,  a  good  road  may  be  had  to  the 
Turkey  foot,  or  three  branches  of  the  Yohoghaney,  which  will 
not  I  am  told,  exceed  thirty  miles.  From  thence  the  navigation 
to  Fort  Pitt,  about  75  miles  further,  altho'  there  is  one  fall  in  the 
way,  can  be  made  good  at  a  very  moderate  expence.  By  going 
up  the  No.  branch  of  Potomac  bout  40  miles  above  Fort  Cum- 
berland, a  portage  may  be  had  with  the  Cheat  river,  which  will 
not  exceed  20  miles  of  good  road,  from  hence  to  the  Mononga- 
hela  by  land  or  water  may  be  about  25  miles  more.  We  are  then, 
as  in  the  case  of  the  Yohoy.  communication,  open  to  the  dif- 
fusive navigation  (more  extensive  perhaps  than  is  to  be  met 
with  in  any  Country  upon  Earth)  in  its  natural  state,  of  the 
whole  western  Territory.  And  if  I  am  not  misinformed  with 
respect  to  the  carrying  places  between  Cayahoga  (a  water  of 
Lake  Erie)  and  big  beaver,  and  Muskingum,  which  disem- 
bogue into  the  Ohio  at  different  points;  there  is  no  rout  so  short, 
so  easy  and  attended  with  so  little  expence,  as  those  I  have  just 
mentioned,  to  bring  all  the  Fur  and  Peltry  of  the  Lakes,  even 
from  that  of  the  Wood,  to  tide  water.  One  of  them  (by  the 
Yohoghaney)  is  shorter  by  more  than  150  miles,  than  that  to 
either  Albany  or  Montreal:  and  the  way  open  at  seasons,  when 
the  others  are  block'd,  and  is  besides  more  independent  of  the 
interference  of  foreign  powers; 


That  the  greatest  part,  if  not  all  the  produce  of  the  Ohio  and 
its  waters  as  low  as  the  Falls,  if  a  better  channel  cannot  be  found 
for  part  of  it  by  way  of  the  Gt.  Kanhawa  and  James  river  to 
Richmond;  or  as  low  as  the  little  Kanhawa,  admitting  this,  I 
have  very  little  doubt.  It  is  true  that  there  are  some  branches 
of  the  Alleghaney  above  Fort  Pit,  which  communicate  pretty 
nearly  with  the  waters  of  Susquehanna,  which  by  great  exer- 
tion and  expence,  may  be  made  use  of  at  certain  seasons  of  the 
year,  but  droughts  in  Summer,  and  Ice  in  Winter  will  render 
them  of  little  value. 

But  to  place  things  in  a  less  favourable  point  of  view,  I  will 
grant  that  a  communication  between  the  Kiskeminetas  Mo- 
ghulbughkitum,  or  Toby's  Creek  (waters  most  favourable  for 
it)  and  the  Susquehanna  shall  be  opened,  and  that  all  the  pro- 
duce convenient  thereto,  shall  be  transported  that  way  to  the 
Markets  below:  that  the  Gt.  Kanhawa  shall  be  found  free  from 
obstructions,  and  easy  both  in  its  navigation,  and  communica- 
tion with  James  river,  and  that  all  the  province  below  the 
mouth  of  the  former,  and  as  far  up  the  Ohio  as  the  Little  Kan- 
hawa, shall  be  transported  that  way :  there  yet  remains  the  thick 
settlement  of  the  Ohio,  between  Fort  Pitt  and  Wheeling,  all  the 
Settlement  of  the  Monongahela,  and  all  that  of  Yohioghany, 
which  constitute  a  very  large  majority  of  the  Inhabitants  West 
of  the  Laurel  hill,  to  bring  their  produce  to  the  Markets  of  this 

In  admitting  this,  I  admit,  in  my  opinion  a  good  deal;  but  if 
the  plan  for  opening  the  navigation  of  Potomac  should  succeed, 
of  which  I  have  not  the  smallest  doubt,  I  will  go  further  and 
venture  an  assertion  which  I  think  is  founded  in  fact;  that  with- 
out any  support  from  the  Western  Territory,  there  is  no  place 
within  my  knowledge  to  which  so  much  produce  will,  from  the 
nature  of  things,  be  brought,  as  to  the  highest  shipping  port  on 


this  river.  That  this  may  not  appear  as  mere  assertion,  I  will 
give  you  my  reasons. 

At  present  Baltimore  not  only  receives  the  greatest  part  of  the 
produce  of  Frederick  County  (Maryland)  and  the  Counties 
above  it  on  the  No.  side  of  Potomac,  but  a  great  deal  also  of  that 
which  is  raised  on  the  south  side;  and  this  thro'  a  long  land 
transportation :  besides  which,  the  produce  of  that  rich  and  ex- 
tensive Country,  between  the  blue  ridge  and  Alleghany  moun- 
tains, for  at  least  200  miles  So.  West  of  the  Potomac,  is  (or  such 
part  of  it  as  will  bear  land  transportation;  carried  partly 
to  Alexandria,  and  the  towns  below  it  on  this  river,  partly  to 
Fredericksburgh  and  Falmouth  on  Rappahannock,  partly 
to  Richmond  and  Petersburgh,  and  some  part  also  to  Hanover 
town,  the  highest  navigation  upon  York  river.  But  let  the  bene- 
fits arising  from  water  transportation,  be  once  felt,  and  then 
see,  if  men  possessed  of  the  spirit  of  Commerce  and  large  capi- 
tals should  settle  at  the  shipping  ports  at  the  head  of  this  river, 
whether  an  atom  of  it  will  cross  the  Potomack  for  Baltimore; 
whilst  every  thing  within  its  vortex  on  the  No.  side  will  be 
sucked  into,  and  be  transported  by  water.  In  like  manner  the 
Shannondoah  will  intercept  every  article  200  miles  from  its 
mouth,  and  water  bear  it  to  the  Markets  at  the  head  of  this  river. 
In  Septembr.  last  I  was  on  the  Shannondoah,  near  or  quite  150 
Miles  from  its  mouth,  and  was  told  by  well  informed  Gentle- 
men living  thereon  that  the  navigation  of  it  might  be  improved, 
and  rendered  fit  for  inland  craft  at  the  smallest  expence  imagin- 
able, the  distance  here  mentioned.  In  a  word,  the  Shannondoah 
which  runs  thro'  the  richest  tract  of  Country  in  this  State,  the 
South  branch  of  Potomac,  which  may,  with  great  ease  be  made 
navigable  100  miles,  and  the  intermediate  streams  of  lesser  note 
which  pour  into  Potomac;  will  not  only  bring  the  land  trans- 
portation of  every  farmer  and  Planter  in  that  Country,  within 

1785]  TRADE  CENTERS  53 

the  short  distance  of  fifteen  or  twenty  miles,  but  in  the  upper 
and  more  remote  parts  of  it,  induce  hundreds  and  thousands  of 
them  to  cultivate  articles  from  the  growth  of  which  they  have 
been  entirely  discouraged  by  the  length  and  expence  of  land 
transportation,  except  in  the  article  of  live  stock  which  will 
carry  itself  to  market,  attempting  to  raise  no  more  than  will  sup- 
ply their  own  necessities.  On  the  other  side  of  the  river,  the 
Conogoge  and  Monocasy,  tho'  of  less  importance,  will  be  im- 
proved to  great  advantage. 

The  mercantile  interest  of  Baltimore  affect  to  treat  the  ex- 
tension of  the  navigation  of  Potomac  as  a  chimerical  plan;  but 
you  may  be  assured  Sir,  that  from  the  Great  Falls,  which  are 
within  eight  or  nine  miles  of  tide  water,  to  Fort  Cumberland, 
there  is  no  more  difficulty  or  uncertainty  in  the  execution,  com- 
paratively speaking,  than  there  is  in  bringing  water  to  a  Mill  by 
a  common  race:  of  nothing  more  therefore  is  ever  effected,  the 
object  notwithstanding  is  immense,  when  the  field  into  which 
it  leads  is  considered.  But  I  have  no  doubt  of  the  practicability 
of  accomplishing  the  whole  if  properly  undertaken. 

In  one  or  two  places  of  this  letter,  I  have  observed  that  to 
make  proper  advantages  of  this  navigation,  and  the  extensive 
commerce  it  opens  a  door  to;  it  requires  a  large  capital  as  well 
as  a  Commercial  spirit.   I  will  explain  myself. 

Alexandria  and  Georgetown  are  the  highest  shipping  Ports 
of  this  river  (if  the  latter  can  be  call'd  one) ;  the  trade  of  George- 
town, I  am  but  little  acquainted  with;  but  if  I  have  formed  a 
right  idea  of  the  former,  it  abounds  in  small  dealers:  Men  who 
import,  or  purchase  their  goods  in  the  Country  upon  credit, 
consequently  obtain  them  under  very  great  disadvantages:  the 
former  class  too  for  the  most  part,  go  to  one  Market,  chiefly  to 
England,  for  every  article  they  purchase;  by  which  means,  such 
manufactures  as  Holland,  Germany,  France  &ca.  could  supply 


upon  much  better  terms,  (being  of  their  own  production)  come 
with  accumulated  charges.  These  added  to  House  rent,  which 
is  high  in  Alexandria,  and  sinks  deep  into  the  profits  of  a 
small  capital,  occasion  considerable  advance  of  the  price  of 
Goods,  the  consequence  of  which  is,  that  the  retail  dealers  in  the 
interior  parts  of  the  Country,  are  induced  to  go,  indeed  are  in 
a  manner  driven,  to  Baltimore  or  Philadelphia  for  their  goods. 
How  otherwise  is  this  fact,  and  the  transportation  of  the  staple 
and  other  produce  of  this  country,  to  those  markets  to  be  ac- 
counted for  ?  The  navigation  of  this  river  is  equal,  if  not  supe- 
rior to  any  in  the  Union.  Goods,  I  presume  may  be  imported 
into  it,  and  the  produce  of  the  Country  exported  from  it,  upon 
as  advantageous  terms,  as  they  can  from  either  Philadelphia, 
Baltimore  or  any  other  place,  which  evinces  the  truth  of  my 
observation,  or  that  the  traders  of  Alexandria  are  not  content 
with  the  profits  of  their  fellow  labourers  in  the  places  I  have 
named.  But  would  either  of  these  any  longer  exist  if  large 
whole-sale  Stores,  upon  the  most  advantageous  terms,  were  es- 
tablished in  that  place  ?  And  the  produce  of  the  back  Country 
brought  thither  by  water,  for  one  fourth  of  what  it  is  now  by 
land,  or  a  sixth,  perhaps  tenth,  (according  to  the  distance  it  is 
carried)  of  what  it  can  be  transported  to  Baltimore  ? 

At  present  every  farmer  who  lives  on  the  West  side  of  the 
blue  ridge  verging  upon  Shenandoah,  gives  I  am  told  one  third 
of  his  wheat  for  bringing  the  other  two  thirds  to  any  shipping 
port.  Tobacco  costs  at  least  40/  a  Hhd.,  and  other  things  in  pro- 
portion. A  little  higher  up,  and  the  expence  of  transportation 
to  a  prohibition  of  the  culture  of  them;  tho'  the  land  is  better 
adapted,  than  any  other  in  the  State  for  the  cultivation  of  them. 
But  if  water  transportation  is  effected,  that  which  now  costs  a 
'A,  may  be  delivered  for  6d.  or  less  a  bushel,  and  where  the 
expence  of  carriage  has  hitherto  discouraged  the  growth  of  it 


altogether,  it  will  be  raised  in  great  quantities,  and  so  with  re- 
spect to  Tobo.  and  other  articles. 

Having  given  you  this  statement  of  the  matter  which  has 
fallen  under  my  observation,  and  which  is  not  exagerated  in 
any  instance  intentionally,  I  leave  you  to  compare  it  with  other 
information  and  your  own  observations,  if  you  have  oppor- 
tunities of  making  any  and  drawing  your  own  conclusions.  I 
have  no  other  objects  in  view,  but  to  promote  a  measure  which 
I  think  is  pregnant  with  great  public  utility,  and  which  may  at 
the  same  time,  be  made  subservient  to  extensive  private  advan- 
tages. Were  I  disposed  to  encounter  present  inconvenience  for 
a  future  income,  I  would  hazard  all  the  money  I  could  raise 
upon  the  navigation  of  the  river.  Or  had  I  inclination  and 
talents  to  enter  into  the  commercial  line,  I  have  no  idea  of  a 
better  opening  than  the  one  I  discanted  upon  to  make  a  for- 
tune. But  the  first  has  no  charms  for  me,  and  the  other  I  never 
shall  engage  in.  My  best  respects  and  good  wishes,  with  which 
Mrs.  Washingtons  are  united,  are  offered  to  Mrs.  Morris  and 
the  rest  of  your  family;  and  I  am,  etc. 

P.  S.  I  send  you  a  copy  of  the  Bill 70  passed  by  the  two  States,  for 
opening  and  extending  the  navigation  of  the  river  Potomac.71 


Mount  Vernon,  February  i,  1785. 

Dear  Sir:  In  a  letter  of  the  14th.  of  Deer,  from  Mr.  Boudinot 

(which  only  came  to  my  hands  by  the  last  Post)  he  informs  me 

that  he  should  send  Six  bushls.  of  the  Orchard  grass  Seeds  to 

your  care  for  my  use.  If  this  has  been  done,  I  pray  you  not 

70  The  engrossed  bill,  which  passed  the  Virginia  House  of  Delegates,  was  lent  to 
Washington  to  save  time  in  getting  copies  printed.  He  returned  it  to  the  Clerk  of  the 
House,  John  Beckley,  in  a  brief  note,  dated  Feb.  5,  1785. 

"Both  the  letter  and  a  copy  of  this  note  to  Beckley  are  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the 
Washington  Papers. 


to  forego  the  first  opportunity  of  forwarding  it  to  me,  as  it 
ought  to  be  Sowed  as  soon  as  the  ground  can  be  prepared, 
which  I  am  now  getting  in  order  for  its  reception. 

It  do  not  know  how  to  account  for  it,  but  so  the  fact  is,  that 
altho'  I  am  a  Subscriber  to  Messrs.  Dunlap  and  Claypoole's 
Packet  and  daily  Advertiser,  I  do  not  get  one  paper  in  five  of 
them,  was  I  to  say  one  of  ten,  I  should  be  nearer  the  mark. 
Once  I  wrote  to  Mr.  Claypoole  on  this  subject,  but  he  never 
vouchsafed  to  give  me  an  answer,  and  since  I  have  been  worse 
served.  If  I  recollect  right,  this  letter  was  accompanied  with 
one  to  you  requesting  payment  of  my  subscription;  lest  a 
tardiness  in  this  respect,  on  my  part,  might  occasion  the  om- 
missions  on  his.  I  now  ask  the  same  favor  of  you,  and  pray  also, 
that  you  would  be  so  obliging  as  to  enquire  into,  and  let  me 
know  the  cause  of  my  disappointments,  which  I  have  regretted 
the  more,  since  their  publication  of  Cookes  voyages;  having 
never  been  able  to  get  a  bound  and  lettered  sett  of  them. 

Be  it  remembered  that,  if  the  fulfilment  of  these  requests  of 
mine,  places  you  in  advance  for  me,  it  is  because  I  cannot  get  a 
statement  of  the  acct.  between  us,  that  I  may  know  how  the 
Balle.  stands. 

You  talked  of  coming  to  Virginia,  and  I  assure  you  I  should 
be  very  glad  to  see  you;  but  it  seems  as  if  it  would  end  in  talk. 

I  have  received  a  Cask  of  clover  Seeds  and  a  box  with  a  cast 
(from  Mr.  Wright)  unaccompanied  by  a  letter  or  Invoice.  I 
do  not  know  therefore  whether  to  expect  the  English  grass 
seed  of  which  you  gave  me  hopes,  or  not.  We  have  heard  of 
Mrs.  Shaws  marriage,  on  which  occasion  please  to  offer  her 
mine,  and  Mrs.  Washingtons  compliments  of  congratulation, 
at  the  sametime  present  our  best  wishes  for  Mrs.  Biddle  and 
your  family.  I  am  etc. 

PS.  Be  so  good  as  to  let  the  enclosed  go  safe  to  Messrs. 
Lewis's,  it  is  to  request  them  to  provide  me  a  good  Miller  of 

1785]  A  DRUNKEN  MILLER  57 

which  I  am  much  in  want,  and  in  the  doing  of  which,  if  you 
could  contribute,  it  would  render  me  an  essential  Service. 

Since  writing  the  foregoing,  I  have  recollected  a  matter  of 
business  which  I  intended  when  you  came  here  to  have  asked 
the  favor  of  you  to  negotiate  for  me.  I  now  enclose  it,  and 
would  thank  you  for  getting  it  settled  if  it  is  to  be  done,  at 
the  proper  Office  in  Philadelphia.  The  endorsements  upon  the 
cover  of  the  Papers  (which  was  made  at  the  time  they  were 
put  into  my  hands)  contain  all  the  light  I  can  throw  upon  the 
business.72  I  pray  you  to  take  care  of  it  with  the  rest  of  the  Pa- 
pers and  let  me  have  it  again  with  whatever  settlement  is  made, 
or  decision  is  come  to;  as  I  have  no  copy,  or  other  Memm.  by 
which  I  can  settle  an  acct.  with  Gilbert  Simpson,  or  John  Johns 
relative  to  this  matter.    I  am  as  above.  [h.s.p.] 


Mount  Vernon,  February  i,  1785. 

Gentn:  You  may  think  me  very  troublesome;  and  the  reason 
I  assign  for  it,  which  is,  an  opinion  that  you  can  serve  me  better 
than  any  other,  no  good  apology  for  the  liberty  I  take. 

My  Miller  (Wm.  Roberts)  is  now  become  such  an  intoler- 
able sot,  and  when  drunk  so  great  a  Madman,  that,  however 
unwilling  I  am  to  part  with  an  old  Servant  (for  he  has  been 
with  me  fifteen  years)  I  cannot  with  propriety  or  common 
justice  to  myself  bear  with  him  any  longer.  I  pray  you  once 
more  therefore,  to  engage  and  forward  a  Miller  for  me  as  soon 
as  you  may  have  it  in  your  power,  and  whatever  engagement 
you  shall  enter  into  on  my  behalf  I  will  religeously  fulfill.  I  do 
not  stipulate  for  the  wages;  Altho'  my  mill  (being  on  an  indif- 
ferent stream,  and  not  constant  at  work)  can  illy  afford  high 

"Biddle's  answer  (Mar.  7,  1785)  does  not  explain  this  business. 


wages.  My  wish  is  to  procure  a  person  who  understands  the 
manufacturing  business  perfectly,  and  who  is  sober  and  honest, 
that  I  may  even  at  the  expence  of  paying  for  it,  have  as  little 
trouble  as  possible  with  him.  If  he  understood  the  business  of 
a  Mill-wright  and  was  obliged  by  his  agreement  to  keep  the 
Mill  in  repair,  so  much  the  better.  Whatever  agreement  you 
may  enter  into  on  my  behalf,  let  it  be  reduced  to  writing  and 
specifically  declared,  that  there  may  be  no  misconception  or 
disputes  thereafter. 

The  House  in  which  he  will  live  is  a  very  comfortable  one 
and  within  30  yards  of  the  Mill  (which  works  two  pair  of 
stones,  one  pair  french  Bur's),  there  is  a  small  Kitchen  con- 
venient thereto,  and  a  good  Garden  under  paling.  There  is  a 
Cowpers 73  shop  within  a  hundred  yards  of  the  mill,  with  three 
negro  Cowpers,  which  will  also  be  under  the  direction  of  the 
miller,  whose  allowance  of  meat,  flour,  and  priviledges  of  every 
kind,  I  would  have  ascertained  to  prevent  after  claims.  I  do 
not  object  to  the  mans  having  a  family,  a  wife  I  shou'd  wish 
him  to  have,  but  I  wou'd  it  not  be  too  large.  At  any  rate  be 
so  good  as  to  let  me  hear  from  you,  that  I  may  know  on  what 
to  rely,  as  it  is  not  safe  for  me  to  entrust  my  business  any 
longer  in  the  hands  of  Wm.  Roberts.  It  only  remains  now  to 
ask  your  forgiveness  for  this  trouble  and  to  assure  you  that  I 
am  Gentn.  Yr.  etc.74 


Mount  Vernon,  February  2, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  The  Writer75  of  the  inclosed  letter,  in  person  and 
character,  is  entirely  unknown  to  me.  I  have  been  at  a  loss 


74 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Tapers. 

76  Aeneas  Lamont. 


therefore  to  determine  what  notice  to  take  of  it.  At  length  I 
concluded  to  write  the  answer  which  is  also  enclosed;  and  to 
request  the  favor  of  you  to  send  it  to  him,  or  return  it  to  me, 
as  you  should  just  [sic]  best  from  the  result  of  your  enquiries; 
or  from  your  own  knowledge  of  the  author,  or  his  Works. 
If  he  is  a  man  of  decent  deportment,  and  his  productions  de- 
serving encouragement,  I  am  very  willing  to  lend  him  any  aid 
he  can  derive  from  the  proposed  dedication,  if  he  conceives  a 
benefit.  His  letter  and  proposals  you  will  please  return  me. 
and  Seal  the  letter  to  him,  if  it  is  forwarded  to  the  Address. 
I  am,  etc.  [h.s.p.] 


Mount  Vernon,  February  2, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  24th.  ulto.  with  eighty  three  Di- 
plomas76 came  to  my  hands  on  Monday  last.  I  have  signed  and 
returned  them  to  Colo.  Fitzgerald  to  be  forwarded  to  you. 

It  would  be  hard  indeed  upon  Majr.  Turner77  and  Captn. 
Claypoole 78  not  only  to  give  them  the  trouble  of  producing  the 
Diplomas,  but  to  saddle  them  with  the  expence  of  it  also.  Was 
there  no  provision  made  therefore  at  the  General  Meeting  ?  Do 
not  the  minutes  of  that  Meeting  devise  some  mode  of  pay- 
ment? I  well  remember  that  the  matter  was  agitated,  but  I 
forgot  what,  or  whether  any  conclusion  was  come  to:  and 
recollect  also  that  I  desired  Genl.  Knox  when  difficulties  arose 
with  respect  to  the  business  which  had  been  entrusted  to  Majr. 
L'Enfant  to  suggest,  that  the  sum  which  I  had  proposed  to 
subscribe  for  the  purposes  of  the  Society  might  be  applied 
to  any  uses  the  Meeting  should  direct;  but  what  the  result  of 

"Of  the  Society  of  the  Cincinnati. 

"Maj.  George  Turner,  formerly  of  the  First  South  Carolina  Regiment. 

18Capt.  Abraham  George  Claypoole,  formerly  of  the  Third  Pennsylvania  Regiment. 


it  was,  I  know  not.  It  was  observed  at  that  time,  that  there  was 
money  in  the  hands  of  the  Treasurer  General,  but  not  having 
the  proceedings  to  refer  to,  and  a  bad  memory  to  depend  upon, 
these  things  appear  like  dreams  to  me.  With  great  esteem  and 
regard  I  am,  etc.79 


February  4, 1785. 

The  agreement  between  Mr.  Dulany,  in  behalf  of  himself 
and  Mrs.  Dulany  (his  wife)  of  the  one  part,  and  G.  Washing- 
ton of  the  other  part,  is  for  an  exchange  of  Lands  upon  the 
following  conditions. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Dulany  are  to  give  all  the  Land  which  the 
latter  has  a  right  to,  in  reversion,  at  the  demise  of  Mrs.  French80 
her  Mother,  and  which  Danl  French  Esq  her  father  died  pos- 
sessed of  by  many  of  several  purchases  which  he  made  at 
sundry  times  from  Osborne  and  others  out  of  a  Patent  granted 
by  the  Lord  Culpeper  Proprietor  of  the  Northn.  Neck  to  Colo. 
Nicholas  Spencer  and  Lieutt  Colo.  John  Washington,  the  1st. 
day  of  March  1674  for  5000  Acs.  on  Potomack  River,  between 
little  Hunting  Creek  and  Ipsewassan,  now  commonly  called 
and  known  by  the  name  of  Dogue  Creek,  which  said  several 
purchases  are  now  bounded  by  the  Lands  of  the  sd.  G  Wash- 
ington, a  small  tract  of  150  Acres  belonging  to  the  Heirs  of 
Harrison  Manley  deceased,  the  said  Dogue  Creek,  and  Poto- 
mack River,  containing  by  the  sevl.  Deeds  of  conveyance 
Acres,  be  the  same  more  or  less. 

In  lieu  of  this,  the  said  G  Washington  is  to  give  the  Land 
which  he  holds  on  Great  Hunting  Creek,  by  purchase  from 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
80  Mrs.  Penelope  French. 


Messrs.  Adam,  Dow  and  Mclver,  for  Acres  be  the  same 

more  or  less,  it  being  the  Land  which  the  said  Dow  is  in  the 
tenure  and  occupation  of,  as  a  Tenant  at  Will. 

But  inasmuch  as  the  Lands  which  are  to  be  conveyed  by  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Dulany  are  reversionary  only,  and  at  present  are  held, 
and  may  continue  to  be  so  held,  by  Mrs.  French  under  the  Will 
of  her  deceased  husband  during  her  natural  life,  which  may 
prevent  the  said  G  Washington  from  obtaining  possession,  or 
enjoying  any  benefit  therefrom  under  this  exchange  during 
that  period.  It  is  agreed  between  the  parties,  and  is  expressly 
to  be  declared,  that  until  the  said  G  Washington,  his  heirs  &ca. 
shall  arrive  to  the  full  and  absolute  possession  of  the  above 
Lands  (now  only  obtained  in  reversion)  by  the  demise  of  Mrs. 
French  or  by  a  full  and  absolute  conveyance  without  further 
compensation  on  the  part  of  the  said  G  Washington  from  her 
who  at  present  is  the  rightful  owner  thereof,  the  said  Mr.  Du- 
lany, his  Heirs  &ca.  is  to  pay  into  the  said  G  Washington  his 
Heirs  &ca.  the  annual  Sum  of  One  hundred  and  twenty  pounds 
Specie,  or  the  value  thereof;  being  the  present  Rent  which  is 
paid  by  the  said  Dow  for  the  Land  given  by  the  said  G  Wash- 
ington for  the  reversionary  right  of  that  which  is  to  be  con- 
veyed by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Dulany. 

Conformably  to  this  Statement  of  the  Agreement  between 
Mr.  Dulany  and  G  W,  Mr.  Lee  will  draw  proper,  and  effectual 
instruments  of  writing,  for  ratifying,  and  confirming  the  same, 
so  as  to  render  the  exchange  final  and  binding,  upon  the  par- 
ties; that  a  record  thereof  may  be  had. 

NB.  The  first  Rent  to  be  paid  by  Mr.  Dulany,  his  heirs,  or 
&ca.  will  become  due  and  payable  on  the  first  day  of  Jany; 
which  shall  be  in  the  year  1787.  The  growing  rent  for  the  year 
1785,  and  the  rent  which  is  now  due  for  the  year  past,  the  said 
G  Washington  is  to  look  to  the  present  tenant,  Mr.  Dow  for 
the  payment  thereof.  [  h.  s.  p.  ] 



Mount  Vernon,  February  5, 1785. 

Sir:  I  have  lately  received  two  letters  from  you,  one  of  the 
14th  and  the  other  of  the  25th  of  last  month. 

The  Bonds  which  you  have  taken  from  Mr.  Whiting81  had 
better  remain  in  your  hands  until  they  are  discharged  and  by 
the  time  you  propose  to  be  at  Belvoir  in  April  I  will  endeavor 
to  prepare  a  proper  Rental  for  you  if  it  shall  be  in  my  power 
from  the  pressure  of  other  matters. 

It  was  always  my  intention  and  ever  my  expectation  that 
the  Tenants  should  pay  the  taxes  of  their  own  Lotts,  but  if  the 
Leases  neither  expresses  nor  implies  it  I  do  not  suppose  there 
is  anything  else  to  compel  them,  consequently  Mr.  Whiting 
must  be  allowed  such  sums  as  he  has  actually  paid;  look  how- 
ever at  his  Lease  and  judge  yourself  of  the  fact  as  I  speak 
more  from  what  ought  to  be  perhaps  than  what  really  is,  and 
do  not  want  to  enter  into  an  improper  litigation  of  the  matter. 
I  am  etc. 

P.  S.  Mrs.  Washington  begs  you  would  get  from  some  of 
my  Tenants,  or  others,  10  or  a  dozen  lbs.  of  good  hackled  Flax 
for  her.82 


Mount  Vernon,  February  5, 1785. 
Sir:  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  acknowledgment  of  your  polite 
letter  of  the  31st.  of  October,  and  thanks  for  the  flattering  ex- 
pressions of  it.  These  are  also  due  in  a  very  particular  manner 

81  Henry  Whiting. 

^This  "Letter  Book"  text  in  the  Washington  Papers  has  been  checked  against  that 
printed  in  the  Washington  and  Tilghman  sale  catalogue  (Birch's  Sons,  Philadelphia, 
1892)  and  justifiable  changes  made  accordingly.  The  P.  S.  is  not  in  the  "Letter 
Book  "  copy. 

1785]  THE  MARBLE  MANTEL  63 

to  Doctr.  Price,83  for  the  honble  mention  he  has  made  of  the 
American  General  in  his  excellent  observations  on  the  impor- 
tance of  the  American  revolution  addressed,  "To  the  free  and 
United  States  of  America,"  which  I  have  seen  and  read  with 
much  pleasure. 

Captn.  Haskell  in  the  Ship  May  arrived  at  Alexandria  a  few 
days  ago;  but  a  frost  which  at  present  interrupts  the  navigation 
of  the  river,  has  prevented  my  sending  for  the  Chimney  piece: 
by  the  number  of  cases  however,  I  greatly  fear  it  is  too  elegant 
and  costly  for  my  room,  and  republican  stile  of  living.  I  regret 
exceedingly  that  the  politeness  of  your  good  Father  should 
have  overcome  my  resolution,  and  thereby  occasion  the  trou- 
ble and  difficulty  which  this  business  seems  to  have  involved. 
Nothing  could  have  been  more  remote  from  my  intentions 
than  to  give  this,  and  I  earnestly,  but  in  vain,  entreated  Mr. 
Vaughan  to  countermand  his  order  for  the  shipment  of  it.  I 
have  the  honor,  etc.84 


Mount  Vernon,  February  5, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  I  have  the  honor  to  inform  you  that  the  Chimney 
piece  is  arrived,  and  by  the  number  of  Cases  (ten)  too  elegant 
and  costly  by  far  I  fear  for  my  room,  and  republican  stile  of 
living,  tho'  it  encreased  the  sense  of  my  obligation  to  you  for 
it.  The  Ship  arrived  at  her  Port  just  as  this  second  frost  set  in, 
so  that  it  has  not  been  in  my  power  to  send  up  for  these  cases 
by  water;  and  I  would  not  hazard  the  transportation  of  them  by 
land,  nine  miles. 

They  were  accompanied  by  a  very  polite  letter  from  your 
Son  Benjamin  Vaughan  Esqr.  of  London,  to  whom  under 

83  Rev.  Richard  Price,  English  nonconformist  minister  and  author. 
84 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


cover  with  this,  I  have  acknowledged  the  receipt,  with  thanks 
for  the  favourable  expression  of  it.  I  hope  Mrs.  Vaughan  and 
your  family  enjoy  good  health,  to  whom  with  Mrs.  Washing- 
ton's compliments,  I  pray  to  be  presented  in  respectful  terms. 
With  great  esteem  and  regard,  I  am,  etc.85 


Mount  Vernon,  February  5, 1785. 

My  Dr.  Sir:  Not  until  within  these  few  days  have  I  been 
favored  with  your  letter  of  the  18th.  of  Octr.  introductory  of 
Mr.  Porter.  I  beg  you  to  be  assured  that  I  shall  have  pleasure 
in  shewing  him  every  civility  in  my  power  while  he  makes  this 
region  the  place  of  his  residence;  as  I  shall  to  any  other,  to 
whom  you  may  give  letters  recommendatory. 

A  few  days  ago  I  received  from  on  board  some  vessel  in  the 
harbor  of  Alexana.  two  cheese's  and  a  barrel  (wrote  thereon 
Major  Rice)86  of  Cranberries,  unaccompanied  by  letter, but  said 
to  be  a  present  from  you.  If  this  be  the  fact  I  pray  you  to  accept 
my  thanks  for  this  token  of  your  recollection,  or  to  offer  them 
to  Majr.  Rice,  if  the  barrel  came  from  him. 

We  have  nothing  stirring  in  this  quarter  worthy  of  observa- 
tion, except  the  passing  of  two  Acts  by  the  Assemblies  of  Vir- 
ginia and  Maryland  (exactly  similar)  for  improving  and 
extending  the  navigation  of  the  river  Potomac  from  tide  water, 
as  high  up  as  it  shall  be  found  practicable,  and  communicating 
it  by  good  roads  with  the  nearest  navigable  waters  to  the  West- 
ward: which  acts  in  their  consequences,  may  be  of  great  po- 
litical, as  well  as  commercial  advantages:  the  first  to  the  con- 
federation, as  it  may  tie  the  Settlers  of  the  Western  Territory 

85 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
88Maj.  Nathan  Rice.  He  was  formerly  aide  to  General  Lincoln. 


to  the  Atlantic  States  by  interest,  which  is  the  only  knot  that 
will  hold.  Whilst  those  of  Virginia  and  Maryland  will  be  more 
immediately  benefited  by  the  large  field  it  opens  for  the  latter. 
Books  for  receiving  subscriptions  are  to  be  opened  at  Alexan- 
dria and  other  places  the  8th.  instant,  and  continue  so  until  the 
10th.  of  May;  as  the  navigable  part  of  the  business  is  to  be 
undertaken  by  a  company  to  be  incorporated  for  the  purpose. 
With  great  truth  and  sincerity  I  am,  etc.87 


Mount  Vernon,  February  7, 1785. 
My  dear  Humphreys:  In  my  last,  by  the  Marquis  de  la 
Fayette,  I  gave  you  reason  to  believe  that  when  I  was  more  at 
leizure,  you  should  receive  a  long  letter  from  me;  however 
agreeable  this  might  be  to  my  wishes,  the  period  it  is  to  be 
feared,  will  never  arrive.  I  can  with  truth  assure  you,  that  at 
no  period  of  the  war  have  I  been  obliged  to  write  half  as  much 
as  I  now  do,  from  necessity.  I  have  been  enquiring  for  some- 
time past,  for  a  person  in  the  character  of  Secretary  or  clerk 
to  live  with  me;  but  hitherto  unsuccessfully.  What  with  letters 
(often  of  an  unmeaning  nature)  from  foreigners.  Enquiries 
after  Dick,  Tom,  and  Harry  who  may  have  been  in  some  part, 
or  at  sometime,  in  the  Continental  service.  Letters,  or  certifi- 
cates of  service  for  those  who  want  to  go  out  of  their  own  State. 
Introductions;  applications  for  copies  of  Papers;  references  of 
a  thousand  old  matters  with  which  I  ought  not  to  be  troubled, 
more  than  the  Great  Mogul,  but  which  must  receive  an  an- 
swer of  some  kind,  deprive  me  of  my  usual  exercise;  and  with- 
out relief,  may  be  injurious  to  me  as  I  already  begin  to  feel  the 
weight,  and  oppression  of  it  in  my  head,  and  am  assured  by 

87 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


the  faculty,  if  I  do  not  change  my  course,  I  shall  certainly  sink 
under  it. 

After  this  preamble,  which  is  not  founded  in  fiction,  you 
cannot  expect  much  from  me;  nor  indeed  have  I  ought  to  relate 
that  should  claim  much  attention.  All  our  assemblies  have 
had  long  sessions,  but  I  have  not  heard  of  any  very  important 
acts;  none  indeed  more  pregnant  of  political  consequences,  or 
commercial  advantages,  than  two  which  have  passed  the  Legis- 
latures of  Virginia  and  Maryland,  for  improving  and  extend- 
ing the  navigations  of  Potomack  and  James  River  as  far  as  is 
practicable;  and  communicating  them  by  short  and  easy  roads 
with  the  Navigable  waters  to  the  Westward.  I  have  sent  Mr. 
Jefferson  a  copy  of  the  act  respecting  the  river  Potomack,  but 
can  neither  inform  him,  nor  you,  of  the  issue,  as  it  depends 
wholly  upon  the  subscription  of  what  we  have  very  little  of, 

If  we  are  to  credit  newspaper  accounts,  the  flames  of  war  in 
Europe  are  again  kindling:  how  far  they  may  spread,  neither 
the  Statesman  or  soldier  can  determine;  as  the  great  governor 
of  the  Universe  causes  contingencies  which  baffle  the  wisdom  of 
the  first,  and  the  foresight  and  valor  of  the  Second. 

All  I  pray  for,  is,  that  you  may  keep  them  among  yourselves. 
If  a  single  spark  should  light  among  the  inflameable  matter 
in  these  States,  it  may  set  them  in  a  combustion,  altho'  they 
may  not  be  able  to  assign  a  good  reason  for  it. 

I  have  received  but  two  short  letters  from  you  since  your 
arrival  in  France.  The  first  at  your  place  of  debarkation.  The 
second  from  Paris.  Your  third,  [sic]  altho'  (in  the  beginning 
of  this  letter  I  assured  you,  and  endeavoured  to  give  reasons  for 
it,  which  in  the  conclusion  you  see  are  invalidated)  I  am  not 
able  to  write  long  ones  to  you,  will  not  be  altogether  so  laconic, 
a  short  transcript  of  your  diary  (for  I  have  no  doubt  of  your 


keeping  one)  would  be  amusing  to  me,  although  I  can  give  you 
nothing  in  return  for  it.  but  your  own  feelings,  I  am  sure,  have 
told  you  long  ere  this  that  there  is  more  pleasure  in  confering, 
than  receiving  obligations. 

Mrs.  Washington  enjoys  but  indifferent  health.  My  nephew 
Geo.  A.  Washington  has  been  buffetting  the  seas  from  clime  to 
clime,  in  pursuit  of  health,  but,  poor  fellow !  I  believe  in  vain. 
At  present,  if  alive,  I  expect  he  is  at  Charleston.  All  the  rest  of 
my  family  are  perfectly  well,  and  join  me  in  best  wishes  for 
you,  with  My  dear  Humphreys  yr.  etc. 

P.  S.  Whilst  I  was  in  the  act  of  enclosing  this,  yr.  letters  of 
the  30th.  of  Sept.  and  nth.  of  Nov.  were  put  into  my  hands; 
judge  ye  then,  if  I  have  leizure  to  write  commentaries.88 


Mount  Vernon,  February  8, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  Since  my  last,  I  have  had  the  honor  to  receive  your 
favors  of  the  26th.  of  Deer,  and  16th.  of  January.  I  have  now 
the  pleasure  to  inform  you,  that  the  Assemblies  of  Virginia  and 
Maryland  have  enacted  Laws,  of  which  the  enclosed  is  a  copy; 
they  are  exactly  similar  in  both  States.  At  the  same  time  and 
at  the  joint  and  equal  expence  of  the  two  Governments,  the 
sum  of  6666  2/3  Dollars  are  voted  for  opening  and  keeping  in 
repair  a  road  from  the  highest  practicable  navigation  of  this 
river,  to  that  of  the  river  Cheat  or  Monongahela,  as  commis- 
sioners (who  are  appointed  to  survey  and  lay  out  the  same)  shall 
find  most  convenient  and  beneficial  to  the  Western  Settlers :  and 
have  concurred  in  an  application  to  the  State  of  Pennsylvania 
for  permission  to  open  another  road  from  Fort  Cumberland 

88  The  text  is  from  the  Washington-Humphreys  copies  in  the  American  Antiquarian 
Society,  Worcester,  Mass.,  furnished  through  the  kindness  of  the  librarian,  R.  W.  G. 


to  the  Yohoganey,  at  the  three  forks  or  Turkey  foot.  A  similar 
Bill  to  the  one  enclosed,  is  passed  by  our  Assembly,  respecting 
the  navigation  of  James  river,  and  the  communication  betv/een 
it  and  the  waters  of  the  great  Kanhawa,  and  the  Executive 
authorised  by  a  resolve  of  the  Assembly  to  appoint  Commis- 
sioners to  examine  and  report  the  most  convenient  course  for 
a  canal  between  Elizabeth  river  and  the  waters  of  Roanoke; 
with  an  estimate  of  the  expence:  and  if  the  best  communica- 
tion shall  be  found  to  require  the  concurrence  of  the  State  of 
No.  Carolina  thereto,  to  make  application  to  the  Legislature 
thereof  accordingly. 

Towards  the  latter  part  of  the  year  1783  I  was  honored  with 
a  letter  from  the  Countess  of  Huntington,  briefly  reciting  her 
benevolent  intention  of  spreading  Christianity  among  the 
Tribes  of  Indians  inhabiting  our  Western  Territory;  and  ex- 
pressing a  desire  of  my  advice  and  assistance  to  carry  this  char- 
itable design  into  execution.  I  wrote  her  Ladyship  for  answer, 
that  it  would  by  no  means  comport  with  the  plan  of  retirement 
I  had  promised  myself,  to  take  an  active  or  responsible  part  in 
this  business;  and  that  it  was  my  belief,  there  was  no  other  way 
to  effect  her  pious  and  benevolent  designs,  but  by  first  reducing 
these  people  to  a  state  of  greater  civilization,  but  that  I  wou'd 
give  every  aid  in  my  power,  consistent  with  the  ease  and  tran- 
quility, to  which  I  meant  to  devote  the  remainder  of  my  life, 
to  carry  her  plan  into  effect.  Since  that  I  have  been  favored 
with  other  letters  from  her,  and  a  few  days  ago  under  cover 
from  Sir  James  Jay  the  papers  herewith  enclosed. 

As  the  plan  contemplated  by  Lady  Huntington,  according  to 
the  outlines  exhibited,  is  not  only  unexceptionable  in  its  design 
and  tendency,  but  has  humanity  and  charity  for  its  object;  and 
may  I  conceive,  be  made  subservient  to  valuable  political  pur- 
poses, I  take  the  liberty  of  laying  the  matter  before  you  for  your 


free  and  candid  sentiments  thereon;  the  communication  I  make 
of  this  matter  to  you  sir,  is  in  a  private  way,  but  you  are  at  full 
liberty  to  communicate  the  plan  of  Lady  Huntington,  to  the 
members  individually;  or  officially  to  Congress,  as  the  impor- 
tance and  propriety  of  the  measure  may  strike  you.  My  reasons 
for  it  are  these:  ist.  I  do  not  believe  that  any  of  the  States  to 
whom  she  has  written  (unless  it  may  be  New  York)  are  in  cir- 
cumstances, since  their  cession  of  Territory,  to  comply  with  the 
requisition  respecting  emigration;  for  it  has  been  privately 
hinted  to  me,  and  ought  not  to  become  a  matter  of  public  noto- 
riety, that  notwithstanding  the  indefinite  expressions  of  the 
Address  respecting  the  numbers  or  occupations  of  the  emi- 
grants, which  was  purposely  omitted  to  avoid  giving  alarms  in 
England,  the  former  will  be  great,  and  the  useful  artisans 
among  them,  many.  2d  Because  such  emigration,  if  it  should 
effect  the  object  in  view,  besides  the  humane  and  charitable 
purposes  which  would  be  thereby  answered,  will  be  of  im- 
mense political  consequence;  and  even  if  this  should  not 
succeed  to  her  Ladyships  wishes,  it  must  nevertheless,  be  of 
considerable  importance  from  the  encrease  of  population  by 
orderly  and  well  disposed  characters,  who  would  at  once  form 
a  barrier  and  attempt  the  conversion  of  the  Indians  without  in- 
volving an  expence  to  the  Union.  I  see  but  one  objection  to  a 
compact,  unmixed  and  powerful  settlement  of  this  kind,  if  it 
is  likely  to  be  so,  the  weight  of  which  you  will  judge.  It  is,  (and 
her  Ladyship  seems  to  have  been  aware  of  it,  and  endeavours  to 
guard  against  it)  placing  a  people  in  a  body  upon  our  exterior, 
where  they  will  be  contiguous  to  Canada,  who  may  bring  with 
them  strong  prejudices  against  us,  and  our  form  of  Govern- 
ment, and  equally  strong  attachments  to  the  country  and  Con- 
stitution they  leave,  without  the  means,  being  detached  and 
unmixed  with  Citizens  of  different  sentiments,  of  having  them 


eradicated.  Her  Ladyship  has  spoken  so  feelingly  and  sensibly, 
on  the  religeous  and  benevolent  purposes  of  the  plan,  that  no 
language  of  which  I  am  possessed,  can  add  aught  to  enforce  her 
observations.  And  no  place  I  think  bids  so  fair  to  answer 
her  views  as  that  spot  in  Hutchin's  map,  mark'd  Miami  Village 
and  Fort,  from  hence  there  is  a  communication  to  all  parts  by 
water  and  at  which,  in  my  opinion  we  ought  to  have  a  Post. 

Do  not  think  it  strange  my  good  Sir,  that  I  send  you  the  orig- 
inal papers  from  Lady  Huntington.  Many,  mistakenly,  think  I 
am  retired  to  ease  and  that  kind  of  tranquility  which  would 
grow  tiresome  for  want  of  employment;  but  at  no  period  of  my 
life,  not  in  the  eight  years  I  served  the  public,  have  I  been 
obliged  to  write  so  much  myself,  as  I  have  done  since  my  retire- 
ment. Was  this  confined  to  friendly  communications,  and  to 
my  own  business,  it  would  be  equally  pleasing  and  trifling:  but 
I  have  a  thousand  references  of  old  matters  with  which  I  ought 
not  to  be  troubled;  but  which,  nevertheless,  must  receive  some 
answer;  these,  with  applications  for  certificates,  copies  of  Or- 
ders &c.  &c.  &c.  deprive  me  of  my  usual  and  necessary  exercise. 

I  have  tryed,  but  hitherto  in  vain,  to  get  a  Secretary  or  Clerk, 
to  take  upon  him  the  drudging  part  of  this  business :  that  you 
might  not  wonder  at  my  parting  with  original  papers  on  an 
important  subject,  I  thought  it  incumbent  upon  me  to  assign 
the  reason,  and  I  beg  you  to  be  assured,  that  I  have  no  other 
motive  for  it. 

Please  to  accept  my  thanks  for  the  pamphlet  you  sent  me,  and 
for  the  resolutions  respecting  the  temporary  and  permanent 
seat  of  Government.  If  I  might  be  permitted  to  hazard  an  opin- 
ion of  the  latter,  I  would  say,  that  by  the  time  your  Federal 
buildings  on  the  banks  of  the  Delaware,  along  the  point  of 
triangle,  are  fit  for  the  reception  of  Congress;  it  will  be  found 

1785]  NAVIGATION  ACTS  71 

that  they  are  very  improperly  placed  for  the  seat  of  the  Empire, 
and  will  have  to  undergo  a  second  edition  in  a  more  convenient 
one.  If  the  union  continues,  and  this  is  not  the  case,  I  will  agree 
to  be  classed  among  the  false  prophets,  and  suffer  for  evil  pre- 
diction. The  letter  for  the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette,  I  pray  you  to 
forward  by  the  Packet.   With  great  esteem  and  regard,  I 

am  etc.89 


Mount  Vernon,  February  15,  1785. 

My  Dr.  Marqs.  I  have  had  the  pleasure  to  receive  your  affec- 
tionate letter  of  the  21st.  of  December,  dated  on  board  the 
Nymph  Frigate  in  the  harbour  of  New  York;  and  felt  all  that 
man  could  feel  from  the  flattering  expression  of  it. 

My  last  to  you,  if  I  recollect  right,  was  dispatched  from  An- 
napolis; whither  I  went  at  the  request  of  this  State  to  settle 
a  plan  (to  be  mutually  adopted  by  the  Legislatures  of  both 
States)  for  improving  and  extending  the  navigation  of  the 
river  Potomac  as  far  as  it  should  be  found  practicable,  and  for 
opening  a  road  of  communication  therefrom,  to  the  nearest 
navigable  water  to  the  westward.  In  both,  I  happily  succeeded. 
The  Bill,  of  which  I  send  you  a  copy,  was  prepared  at  that  time, 
and  has  since  passed  both  Assemblies  in  the  usual  forms,  and 
must  speak  for  itself.  The  road  of  communication  is  to  be 
undertaken  on  public  account,  at  the  joint  and  equal  expence 
of  the  two  States.  Virginia  has  passed  a  similar  Act  to  the  one 
enclosed,  respecting  James  river,  and  its  communication  with 
the  waters  of  the  Great  Kanhawa,  and  have  authorized  the 
Executive  to  appoint  Commissioners  to  examine,  and  fix  on 

BDFrom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


the  most  convenient  course  for  a  canal  from  the  waters  of 
Elizabeth  river,  in  this  State,  to  those  passing  thro'  the  State 
of  No.  Carolina;  and  report  their  proceedings  therein,  with  an 
estimate  of  the  expence  necessary  for  opening  such  Canal,  to 
the  next  General  Assembly. 

Hence  my  dear  Marquis  you  will  perceive  that  the  exertions 
which  you  found,  and  left  me  engag'd  in,  to  impress  my  Coun- 
trymen with  the  advantages  of  extending  the  inland  naviga- 
tion of  our  rivers,  and  opening  free  and  easy  communications 
with  the  Western  Territory  (thereby  binding  them  to  us  by 
interest,  the  only  knot  which  will  hold)  has  not  been  employ 'd 
in  vain.  The  Assembly  of  this  State  have  accompanied  these 
Acts  with  another,  very  flattering  one  for  me,  but  which  has 
been  productive  of  infinitely  more  embarrassment  than  pleas- 
ure. This  Act  directs  the  Treasurer  of  the  State  to  subscribe  fifty 
shares  in  each  of  the  navigations,  Potomac  and  James,  for  my 
use  and  benefit,90  which  it  declares  is  to  be  vested  in  me  and 
my  heirs  forever:  generous  as  this  Act  is,  the  reasons  assigned 
for  it,  with  the  flattering,  yet  delicate  expression  thereof,  ren- 
ders it  more  valuable  than  the  grant  itself;  and  this  it  is  which 
perplexes  me.  It  is  not  my  wish,  nor  is  it  my  intention,  to  accept 
this  gratuitous  gift,  but  how  to  decline  it  with  out  appearing 
to  slight  the  favors  of  my  Country,  committing  an  act  of  disre- 
spect to  the  Legislature,  or  having  motives  of  pride,  or  an 
ostentatious  display  of  disinterestedness  ascribed  to  me,  I  am  at 
a  loss :  but  will  endeavour  to  hit  upon  some  expedient  before  the 
next  Session,  to  avoid  these  imputations.  This  was  the  closing 
Act  of  the  last,  without  my  having  the  most  distant  suspicion 
that  such  a  matter  was  in  contemplation;  nor  did  I  ever  hear 
of  it  until  it  had  passed,  and  the  Assembly  had  adjourned. 

90 This  may  be  an  error  of  the  "Letter  Book"  copyist.  The  act  directed  the  sub- 
scription of  50  shares  in  the  Potomac  Navigation  Co.  and  100  shares  in  the  James 
River  Navigation  Co. 



With  what  readiness  the  subscription  Books  will  fill,  is  not 
in  my  power  at  this  early  stage  of  the  business,  to  inform  you ;  in 
general,  the  friends  to  the  measure  are  sanguine;  but  among 
those  good  wishes  are  more  at  command,  than  money,  conse- 
quently it  is  not  only  uncertain  of  whom  the  company  may 
consist,  but  (as  its  existence  depends  upon  contingenices) 
whether  there  will  be  one  or  not.  therefore  at  this  moment  we 
are  all  in  the  dark  respecting  this  and  other  matters.  One  thing 
however  is  certain,  namely,  if  a  company  should  be  established 
and  the  work  is  undertaken,  a  skilful  Engineer,  or  rather  a 
person  of  practical  knowledge  will  be  wanted  to  direct  and 
superintend  it.  I  should  be  glad  therefore  my  Dr.  Sir  you 
would  bear  this  matter  in  your  mind,  that  if  the  company 
when  formed  should  be  disposed  to  obtain  one  from  Europe, 
I  should  prefer  France,  proper  characters  may  be  applied  to, 
without  loss  of  time.  You  will  readily  perceive  My  Dr.  Marqs. 
that  this  is  more  a  private  intimation  of  mine,  than  an  author- 
ized request,  consequently  how  improper  it  would  be  to  raise 
the  expectation  of  any  Gentleman  to  the  employment,  without 
being  able  to  give  him  the  appointment.  If  a  company  should 
be  formed,  it  will  be  composed,  no  doubt  of  many  men,  and 
these  of  many  minds;  and  whilst  myself  and  others  may  be 
disposed  to  go  to  France  for  an  Engineer,  the  majority  may 
incline  to  send  to  England  for  one,  on  account  of  the  language, 
and  from  an  opinion  that  there  is  greater  similarity  between 
the  inland  navigation  of  that  Kingdom  and  the  improvements 
which  are  intended  here,  than  prevails  between  any  in  France 
and  them;  whilst  others  again  may  turn  their  Eyes  towards 
Holland.  The  nature  of  our  work,  as  far  as  I  have  been  able 
to  form  an  opinion  of  it,  will  be  first,  at  the  principal  falls  of 
the  river  to  let  Vessels  down  by  means  of  Locks,  or,  if  Rumsey's 
plan  should  succeed,  by  regular  or  gradual  slopes,  in  either 
case,  the  bad  effect  of  Ice  and  drift  wood  in  floods,  are  to  be 


guarded  against.  2d.  As  the  Canals  at  these  places  will  pass 
thro'  rocky  ground,  to  be  able  to  remove  these  with  skill  and 
facility,  and  to  secure  the  Canals  when  made.  3dly.  in  other 
parts  of  the  river,  the  water  will  require  to  be  deepened,  and  in 
these  places  the  bottom  generally  is  either  rock  under  water, 
or  loose  stone  of  different  sizes;  for  it  rarely  happens  that 
Sand  or  Mud  is  to  be  found  in  any  of  the  shallow  parts  of  the 
River.  I  mention  these  things  because  it  is  not  the  man  who 
may  be  best  skilled  in  Dikes;  who  knows  best  how  to  conduct 
water  upon  a  level,  or  who  can  carry  it  thro'  hills  or  over 
Mountains,  that  would  be  most  useful  to  us. 

We  have  had  a  mild  winter  hitherto,  and  nothing  new  that 
I  recollect,  in  the  course  of  it;  for  I  believe  Congress  had  deter- 
mined before  you  left  the  Country,  to  fix  their  permanent  seat 
in  the  vicinity  of  Trenton;  and  their  temporary  one  at  New 
York.  The  little  Sprig  at  Annapolis,  to  whose  nod  so  many 
lofty  trees  of  the  forest  had  bowed,  has  yielded  the  Sceptre. 

thursday  last  placed  it  at  the  feet  of  Mr.  M: who  perhaps 

may  wield  it  with  as  much  despotism  as  she  did. 

If  I  recollect  right,  I  told  you  when  here,  that  I  had  made 
one  or  two  attempts  to  procure  a  good  Jack  Ass  from  Spain,  to 
breed  from.  Colo.  Hooe,  or  rather  Mr.  Harrison,  was  one  of 
the  Channels  thro'  which  I  expected  to  be  supplied;  but  a  day 
or  two  ago  the  former  furnished  me  with  the  enclosed  extract 
from  the  latter.  As  it  is  not  convenient  for  me  to  pay  such  a 
price,  I  have  desired  Colo.  Hooe  to  countermand  the  order,  and 
the  same  causes  induce  me  to  pray,  that  if  these  are  the  prices  of 
a  good  Jack  (and  no  other  I  would  have)  that  you  would  de- 
cline executing  the  commission  I  gave  you  of  a  similar  kind. 

I  will  use  my  best  endeavours  to  procure  the  seeds  (from 
Kentucky)  which  are  contained  in  your  list;  but  as  the  dis- 


tance  at  which  I  live  from  that  country  is  great,  and  frequent 
miscarriages  of  them  may  happen,  you  must  prepare  yourself 
for  delay. 

I  will  write  as  you  desire,  to  Gary91  the  late  Printer  of  the 
Volunteer  Journal  in  Ireland.  Bushrod  Washington,  sensible 
of  your  polite  invitation,  but  unable  to  avail  himself  of  it,  wrote 
you  a  letter  of  grateful  acknowledgments  and  thanks;  which 
letter  I  sent  under  cover  to  the  President  of  Congress  with  a 
request  to  deliver  it  to  you,  but  you  had  sailed:  I  presume  he 
has  since  forwarded  it  to  you. 

I  am  possessed  of  the  Cypher92  which  was  used  by  Mr.  Liv- 
ingston whilst  he  was  Secretary  of  foreign  affairs;  if  therefore 
he  had  not  different  ones,  I  can  when  necessary,  correspond 
with  you  in  his. 

Every  body  of  this  family,  and  those  who  are  connected  with 
it,  join  in  the  most  sincere  and  affectionate  wishes  for  you  and 
yours,  with  the  most  affectionate  of  your  friends 

P.  S.  If  it  should  so  happen  that  the  subscriptions  for  opening 
the  navigations  of  the  rivers  Potomac  and  James  should  not 
(from  the  want  of  money  here)  fill  in  the  time  required  by  the 
Acts,  do  you  think  that  there  are  persons  of  your  acquaintance 
in  France  who  might  incline  to  become  adventurers  in  it  ?  I 
give  it  as  my  decided  opinion  to  you  that  both  are  practicable 
beyond  all  manner  of  doubt:  and  that  men  who  can  afford  to 
lay  a  little  while  out  of  their  money,  are  laying  the  foundation 
of  the  greatest  returns  of  any  speculation  I  know  of  in  the 

91Mathew  Carey. 

2  There  are  several  undated  ciphers  in  the  Washington  Papers,  grouped  at  the  end  of 
the  year  1783.  One  is  Maj.  Benjamin  Tallmadge's  cipher  and  another  is  Robert  Mor- 
ris's; but  none  of  them  are  labeled  as  Robert  R.  Livingston's  cipher. 

03 From  the  "  Letter  Book  "  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  February  20, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  My  Servant  did  not  return  with  your  letter,  and  the 
Papers  therewith,  until  Nine  o'clock  last  night;  so  that  I  have 
scarcely  had  time  to  read  the  several  Conveyances.  In  that 
from  Mr  and  Mrs  Dulany  to  me  there  is  a  capitol  error,  the 
Land  held  by  the  deceased  Mr.  French,  under  the  Proprietors 
Deed  to  Stephens  and  Violet,  is  no  part  of  the  Land  exchanged. 
The  original  grant  to  Spencer  and  Washington,  comprehends 
all  the  land  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Dulany  is  to  give  for  mine;  and  these 
are  held  by  purchases  from  Richd.  Osborne  (the  quantity  I 
know  not)  Arbuthnot  for  150  Acres;  Manley  for  68  acres;  and 
John  Posey  for  136  Acres. 

If  it  is  not  essential  to  recite  the  quantities  of  Land  had  from 
each  of  the  persons,  with  the  dates  of  the  several  transfers  of 
them,  in  order  to  give  valuation  to  the  Deed  of  Conveyance 
from  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Dulany;  I  see  not  the  least  occasion  for  it,  on 
any  other  Acct.;  because,  if  they  convey  all  their  right  to  the 
Land  within  Spencer  and  Washingtons  Patent,  it  gives  all  I 
want,  and  cannot  in  the  remotest  degree  affect  any  other  Land 
they  have,  because  they  hold  none  other,  within  several  Miles 
of  it.  and  because  it  would  be  sufficiently  descriptive,  as  the  Pat- 
ent of  Spencer  and  Washington  is  well  known,  and  the  bound- 
aries of  it  will  admit  of  no  alteration,  having  the  River,  Hunting 
Creek  and  Ipsawassen  (or  Dogues  Creek)  and  a  strait  line  be- 
tween the  two  last  for  its  limits. 

For  these  reasons  I  should  think,  if  at  the  end  of  the  mark 
No.  1  line  29,  you  were  to  add  "  by  means  of  sundry  purchases 

Brother  of  "Light  Horse  Harry."  He  was  naval  officer  for  the  Southern  Potomac, 
U.  S.  Collector  of  Customs,  Alexandria,  Va.,  in  1789,  and  Attorney  General  of  the 
United  States  from  1795  to  1801. 

1785]  LAND  CONVEYANCE  77 

by  him  made  from  Richard  Osborne,  the  Executrix  of  Thos. 
Arbuthbot,  John  Manley,  John  Posey  &ca.  containing  in  Spen- 
cers moiety  of  the  said  Patent "  (if  it  is  necessary  to  specify  the 
quantity)  "by  estimation  about  500  acres  of  Land,  be  the  same 
more  or  less ".  it  wd.  make  the  matter  sufficiently  clear  for  the 
precise  quantity  can  only  be  ascertained  by  a  strict  investigation 
of  lines  and  actual  measurement;  as  part  of  Mr  Frenchs  pur- 
chases run  into  Washingtons  moiety  of  the  Patent,  which  can 
not  be  affected,  tho'  to  ascertain  the  different  lines,  and  rights, 
would  give  trouble,  and  was  one  inducement  for  me  to  make 
the  exchange. 

In  whatever  manner  you  Judge  best,  draw  the  Deed  accord- 
ingly, all  I  pray  is,  that  it  may  be  ready  for  the  Court,  this  day. 
nothing  else  brings  me  up,  and  it  is  inconvenient  to  leave  home. 
Besides,  Mrs.  Washington,  tho'  not  very  well,  will  attend,  in 
order  to  make  a  finish  of  the  business.  With  much  esteem  &ca. 
I  am  etc. 

P.  S.  As  the  Land  I  get,  comes  by  Mrs.  Dulany  would  it  not 
have  been  right  to  have  given  her  the  same  interest  in  the  Tract 
I  convey  ?  this  by  the  by,  only.  And  should  not  there  have  been 
a  note  of  the  interliniation  respecting  the  amt.  of  the  rent,  in 
that  Deed  ?  or  do  you  mean  that  it  is  not  to  be  considered  as  an 
interlineation  ?  My  taking  a  Lease  from  Mrs.  French  of  her  life 
Estate,  if  she  should  be  disposed  to  give  me  one,  upon  the 
paymt.  of  an  annual  rent,  cannot  be  considered  as  a  compliance 
on  the  part  of  Mr  Dulany  and  discharge  of  that  proviso  which 
is  to  extinguish  his  Rent  ?  [h.s.p.] 


Mount  Vernon,  February  25, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  I  had  the  pleasure  to  find  by  the  public  Gazettes 
that  your  passage  to  France  had  been  short,  and  pleasant.  I  have 


no  doubt  but  that  your  reception  at  Court  has  been  equally 
polite,  and  agreeable. 

I  have  the  honor  to  inclose  you  the  copy  of  an  Act  which 
passed  the  Assemblies  of  Virginia  and  Maryland  at  the  close  of 
their  respective  Sessions;  about  the  first  of  last  month.  The 
circumstances  of  these  States,  it  is  said,  would  not  enable  them 
to  take  the  matter  up,  altogether,  on  public  ground;  but  they 
have  granted  at  the  joint  and  equal  expence  of  the  two,  6666  2/3 
dollars  for  the  purpose  of  opening  a  road  of  communication 
between  the  highest  navigation  of  the  Potomac,  and  the  river 
Cheat;  and  have  concurred  in  an  application  to  the  State  of 
Pensylvania  for  leave  to  open  another  road  from  Fort  Cumber- 
land or  Wills  Creek,  to  the  Yohiogany,  at  the  three  forks,  or 
Turkey  foot. 

Besides  these  joint  Acts  of  the  States  of  Virginia  and  Mary- 
land; the  former  has  passed  a  similar  law  respecting  the  naviga- 
tion of  James  river,  and  its  communications  with  the  Green 
brier;  and  have  authorized  the  Executive  to  appoint  Commis- 
sioners, who  shall  carefully  examine  and  fix  on  the  most  con- 
venient course  for  a  Canal  from  the  Waters  of  Elizabeth  River 
in  this  State,  to  those  passing  through  the  State  of  North  Caro- 
lina; and  report  their  proceedings  therein,  with  an  estimate  of 
the  expence  necessary  for  opening  the  Same,  to  the  next  Gen- 
eral Assembly;  and  in  case  they  shall  find  that,  the  best  course 
for  such  canal,  will  require  the  concurrence  of  the  Sate  [sic]  of 
North  Carolina  in  the  opening  thereof,  they  are  further  author- 
ized and  instructed  to  signify  the  same  to  the  said  State,  and  to 
concert  with  any  person  or  persons  who  may  be  appointed  on 
the  part  thereof,  the  most  convenient  and  equitable  plan  for  the 
execution  of  such  work;  and  to  report  the  result  to  the  General 

With  what  Success  the  Books  will  be  opened,  I  cannot,  at  this 
early  stage  of  the  business,  inform  you;  in  general  the  friends 


of  the  measure  are  better  stocked  with  good  wishes  than 
money;  the  former  of  which  unfortunately,  goes  but  a  little 
way  in  works  where  the  latter  is  necessary,  and  is  not  to  be  had. 
and  yet,  if  this  matter  could  be  well  understood,  it  should  seem 
that,  there  would  be  no  deficiency  of  the  latter,  any  more  than 
of  the  former;  for  certain  I  am,  there  is  no  speculation  of  which 
I  have  an  idea,  that  will  ensure  such  certain  and  ample  returns 
of  the  money  advanced,  with  a  great,  and  encreasing  interest,  as 
the  tolls  arising  from  these  navigations;  the  accomplishment  of 
which,  if  funds  can  be  obtained,  admits  of  no  more  doubt  in  my 
mind,  under  proper  direction,  than  that  a  ship  with  skilful  Mar- 
iners can  be  carried  from  hence  to  Europe.  What  a  misfortune 
therefore  would  it  be,  if  a  project  which  is  big  with  such  great 
political  consequences,  commercial  advantages,  and  which 
might  be  made  so  productive  to  private  Adventurers  should 
miscarry;  either  from  the  inability  of  the  two  States  to  execute 
it,  at  the  public  expence,  or  for  want  of  means,  or  the  want  of 
spirit  or  foresight  to  use  them,  in  their  citizens.  Supposing  a 
danger  of  this,  do  you  think,  Sir,  the  monied  men  of  France, 
Holland,  England  or  any  other  Country  with  which  you  may 
have  intercourse,  might  be  induced  to  become  Adventurers  in 
the  Scheme?  Or  if  from  the  remoteness  of  the  object,  this 
should  appear  ineligable  to  them,  would  they  incline  to  lend 
money  to  one,  or  both  of  these  States,  if  there  should  be  a  dispo- 
sition in  them  to  borrow,  for  this  purpose  ?  Or,  to  one  or  more 
individuals  in  them,  who  are  able,  and  would  give  sufficient 
security  for  the  repayment  ?  At  what  interest,  and  on  what  con- 
ditions respecting  time,  payment  of  interest,  &ca.  could  it  be 
obtained  ? 

I  forsee  such  extensive  political  consequences  depending  on 
the  navigation  of  these  two  rivers,  and  communicating  them  by 
short  and  easy  roads  with  the  waters  of  the  Western  territory, 
that  I  am  pained  by  every  doubt  of  obtaining  the  means  for 


their  accomplishment :  for  this  reason,  I  also  wish  you  would 
be  so  obliging  as  to  direct  your  enquiries  after  one  or  more 
characters,  who  have  skill  in  this  kind  of  work;  that  if  Com- 
panies should  be  incorporated  under  the  present  Acts,  and 
should  incline  to  send  to  France,  or  England  for  an  Engineer, 
or  Man  of  practical  knowledge  in  these  kinds  of  works,  there 
may  be  a  clue  to  the  application.  You  will  perceive  tho'  my  dear 
Sir,  that  no  engagement,  obligatory  or  honorary  can  be  entered 
into  at  this  time,  because  no  person  can  answer  for  the  deter- 
mination of  the  Companies,  admitting  their  formation. 

As  I  have  accustomed  myself  to  communicate  matters  of  dif- 
ficulty to  you,  and  have  met  forgiveness  for  it,  I  will  take  the 
liberty,  my  good  Sir,  of  troubling  you  with  the  rehearsal  of  one 
more,  which  has  lately  occurred  to  me.  Among  the  Laws  of  the 
last  Session  of  our  Assembly,  there  is  an  Act  which  particularly 
respects  myself;  and  tho'  very  flattering,  is  also  very  embarrass- 
ing to  me.  This  Act,  after  honorable,  flattering,  and  delicate 
recitals,  directs  the  treasurer  of  the  State  to  Subscribe  towards 
each  of  the  Navigations  fifty  Shares  for  my  use  and  benefit; 
which  it  declares,  is  to  be  vested  in  me  and  my  heirs  forever.  It 
has  ever  been  my  wish,  and  it  is  yet  my  intention,  never  to  re- 
ceive any  thing  from  the  United  States,  or  an  individual  State 
for  any  Services  I  have  hitherto  rendered,  or  which  in  the  course 
of  events,  I  may  have  it  in  my  power  to  render  them  hereafter 
as  it  is  not  my  design  to  accept  of  any  appointment  from  the 
public,  which  might  make  emoluments  necessary:  but  how  to 
decline  this  act  of  generosity  without  incurring  the  imputation 
of  disrespect  to  my  Country,  and  a  slight  of  her  favors  on  the 
one  hand,  or  that  of  pride,  or  an  ostentatious  display  of  disinter- 
estedness on  the  other,  is  the  difficulty.  As  none  of  these  have 
an  existence  in  my  breast,  I  should  be  sorry,  if  any  of  them 
should  be  imputed  to  me.  The  Assembly,  as  if  determined  that 

1785]  ADVICE  ASKED  81 

I  should  not  act  from  the  first  impulse,  made  this  the  last  act  of 
their  Session;  without  my  having  the  smallest  intimation  or 
suspicion  of  their  generous  intention.  As  our  Assembly  is  now 
to  be  holden  once  a  year  only,  I  shall  have  time  to  hit  upon  some 
expedient  that  will  enable  me  to  indulge  the  bent  of  my  own 
inclination,  without  incurring  any  of  the  imputations  before 
mentioned;  and  of  hearing  the  sentiments  of  my  friends  upon 
the  subject;  than  whose,  none  would  be  more  acceptable  than 

Your  friends  in  our  Assembly  will  have  been  able  to  give  you 
so  much  better  information  of  what  has  passed  there,  and  of  the 
general  state  of  matters  in  this  Commonwealth,  that  a  repeti- 
tion from  me  is  although  unnecessary,  and  might  be  imperfect. 
If  we  are  to  credit  News  paper  Accts.  the  flames  of  war  are  again 
kindled,  or  are  about  to  be  so,  in  Europe.  None  of  the  sparks, 
it  is  to  be  hoped  will  cross  the  Atlantic  and  touch  the  inflame- 
able  matter  in  these  States.  I  pray  you  to  believe  that  with 
sentimts.  of  great  esteem,  etc.95 


Mount  Vernon,  February  27, 1785. 
My  Dr.  Sir:  In  a  letter  of  old  date,  but  lately  received,  from 
the  Countess  of  Huntington,  she  refers  me  to  a  letter  which  her 
Ladyship  says  you  obligingly  undertook  to  forward  to  me: 

85  From  the  original  in  the  Jefferson  Papers. 

Jefferson  answered  (July  10):  "My  wishes  to  see  you  made  perfectly  easy  by  re- 
ceiving those  just  returns  of  gratitude  from  our  country,  to  which  you  art  entitled, 
would  induce  me  to  be  contented  with  saying,  what  is  a  certain  truth,  that  the  world 
would  be  pleased  with  seeing  them  heaped  on  you,  and  would  consider  your  receiv- 
ing them  as  no  derogation  from  your  reputation,  but  I  must  own  that  the  declining 
them  will  add  to  that  reputation,  as  it  will  shew  that  your  motives  have  been  pure  and 
without  any  alloy,  this  testimony  however  is  not  wanting  either  to  those  who  know 
you  or  who  do  not.  I  must  therefore  repeat  that  I  think  the  receiving  them  will  not  in 
the  least  lessen  the  respect  of  the  world  if  from  any  circumstances  they  would  be  con- 
venient to  you.  the  candour  of  my  communication  will  find  its  justification  I  know 
with  you."  Jefferson's  letter  is  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


never  having  received  one  from  her  to  the  purport  she  men- 
tions, there  can  be  no  doubt  but  that  this  letter  with  your  cover 
to  it,  have  met  the  fate  of  some  of  mine  to  you;  as  I  have  wrote 
several  within  the  last  twelve  or  eighteen  months,  without  any 
acknowledgement  of  them  from  you. 

The  only  letters  I  recollect  to  have  received  from  you  since 
my  retirement  are  dated  the  9th.  of  Deer.  1783,  and  10th.  of  June 
1784.  the  first,  relates  to  the  heir  of  Mr.  Bristons,  the  second,  to 
a  case  with  pictures,  which  you  were  so  obliging  as  to  commit 
to  the  care  of  the  Revd.  Mr.  Bracken;  and  which  has  not  yet 
got  to  hand.  In  Novr.  last  at  Richmond,  I  happened  in  com- 
pany with  this  gentleman  who  told  me  it  was  then  in  his  pos- 
session at  Wmsburgh,  and  that  it  should  be  forwarded  by  the 
first  safe  conveyance  to  this  place,  for  your  kind  and  polite  atten- 
tion in  this  matter,  I  pray  you  to  receive  my  thanks. 

As  soon  as  your  letter  of  the  9th.  of  Deer.,  above  mentioned 
(accompanied  by  one  from  Mrs.  Briston,  and  the  memorial 
from  the  Excors  of  the  Will  of  her  deceased  husband)  came  to 
my  hands,  I  transmitted  them  to  the  Govr.,  who  laid  them  be- 
fore the  Assembly  which  was  then  sitting:  but  what  the  result 
of  it  was,  I  have  never  yet  heard,  precisely.  This  case  was  in- 
volved in  the  general  confiscation  of  British  property,  which 
makes  discrimination  difficult.  How  far  the  Law  on  national 
ground  is  just,  or  the  expediency  of  it  in  the  political  scale,  wise 
and  proper,  I  will  not  undertake  to  determine;  but  of  this  I  am 
well  convinced,  that  the  most  wretched  management  of  the 
sales  has  pervaded  every  State,  without  I  believe  a  single  excep- 
tion in  favor  of  any  one  of  them. 

I  cannot  at  this  moment  recur  to  the  contents  of  those  letters 
of  mine  to  you  which  I  suspect  have  miscarried;  further  than 
that  they  were  all  expressive  of  an  earnest  wish  to  see  you  and 
Mrs.  Fairfax  once  more  fixed  in  this  country;  and  to  beg  that 

1785]  BELVOIR  RUINS  83 

you  would  consider  Mt.  Vernon  as  your  home  until  you  could 
build  with  convenience,  in  which  request  Mrs.  Washington 
joins  very  sincerely.  I  never  look  towards  Belvoir,  without 
having  this  uppermost  in  my  mind.  But  alas!  Belvoir  is  no 
more!  I  took  a  ride  there  the  other  day  to  visit  the  ruins,  and 
ruins  indeed  they  are.  The  dwelling  house  and  the  two  brick 
buildings  in  front,  underwent  the  ravages  of  the  fire;  the  walls 
of  which  are  very  much  injured :  the  other  Houses  are  sinking 
under  the  depredation  of  time  and  inattention,  and  I  believe 
are  now  scarcely  worth  repairing.  In  a  word,  the  whole  are,  or 
very  soon  will  be  a  heap  of  ruin.  When  I  viewed  them,  when  I 
considered  that  the  happiest  moments  of  my  life  had  been  spent 
there,  when  I  could  not  trace  a  room  in  the  house  (now  all 
rubbish)  that  did  not  bring  to  my  mind  the  recollection  of 
pleasing  scenes,  I  was  obliged  to  fly  from  them;  and  came  home 
with  painful  sensations,  and  sorrowing  for  the  contrast.  Mrs. 
Morton96  still  lives  at  your  Barn  quarter.  The  management  of 
your  business  is  entrusted  to  one  Muse  (son  to  a  Colonel  of  that 
name,97  whom  you  cannot  have  forgotten),  he  is,  I  am  told,  a 
very  active  and  industrious  man;  but  in  what  sort  of  order  he 
has  your  Estate,  I  am  unable  to  inform  you,  never  having  seen 
him  since  my  return  to  Virginia. 

It  may  be  and  I  dare  say  is  presumed  that  if  I  am  not  returned 
to  my  former  habits  of  life,  the  change  is  to  be  ascribed  to  a 
preference  of  ease  and  indolence  to  exercise  and  my  wonted 
activity:  But  be  assured  my  dear  Sir,  that  at  no  period  of  the 
War  have  I  been  obliged  myself  to  go  thro'  more  drudgery  in 
writing,  or  have  suffered  so  much  confinement  to  effect  it,  as 
since  what  is  called  my  retirement  to  domestic  ease  and  tran- 
quillity. Strange  as  it  may  seem,  it  is  nevertheless  true,  that  I 

80  Wife  of  Rev.  Andrew  Morton. 
97  Col.  George  Muse. 


have  been  able  since  I  came  home,  to  give  very  little  attention 
to  my  own  concerns,  or  to  those  of  others,  with  which  I  was 
entrusted.  My  Accounts  stand  as  I  left  them  near  ten  years  ago; 
those  who  owed  me  money,  a  very  few  instances  excepted, 
availed  themselves  of  what  are  called  the  tender  Laws,  and  paid 
me  off  with  a  shilling  and  sixpence  in  the  pound.  Those  to 
whom  I  owed,  I  have  now  to  pay  under  heavy  taxes  with  specie, 
or  its  equivalent  value.  I  do  not  mention  these  matters  by  way 
of  complaint,  but  as  an  apology  for  not  having  rendered  you  a 
full  and  perfect  statement  of  the  Acct.  as  it  may  stand  between 
us,  'ere  this.  I  allotted  this  Winter,  supposing  the  drearyness  of 
the  season  would  afford  me  leisure  to  overhaul  and  adjust  all 
my  papers  (which  are  in  sad  disorder,  from  the  frequent  hasty 
removals  of  them,  from  the  reach  of  our  trans-atlantic  foes, 
when  their  Ships  appeared) :  but  I  reckoned  without  my  host; 
Company,  and  a  continual  reference  of  old  military  matters, 
with  which  I  ought  to  have  no  concern;  applications  for  Certifi- 
cates of  service  &c,  copies  of  orders  and  the  Lord  knows  what 
besides,  to  which  whether  they  are  complied  with  or  not,  some 
response  must  be  made,  engross  nearly  my  whole  time.  I  am 
now  endeavoring  to  get  some  person  as  a  Secretary  or  Clerk  to 
take  the  fatigueing  part  of  this  business  off  my  hands.  I  have 
not  yet  succeeded,  but  shall  continue  my  enquiries  'till  one  shall 
offer,  properly  recommended. 

Nothing  has  occurred  of  late  worth  noticing,  except  the  re- 
newed attempts  of  the  Assemblies  of  Virginia  and  Maryland  to 
improve  and  extend  the  navigation  of  the  river  Potomac  as  far 
as  it  is  practicable,  and  communicating  it  by  good  roads  (at  the 
joint  and  equal  expence  of  the  two  States)  with  the  waters  of 
the  amazing  territory  behind  us.  A  copy  of  this  Act  (exactly  sim- 
ilar in  both  states)  I  do  myself  the  honor  to  enclose  you.  One 
similar  to  it  passed  the  Legislature  of  this  State  for  improving 


and  extending  the  navigation  of  James  river,  and  opening  a 
good  road  between  it  and  Green-briar.  These  acts  were  accom- 
panied by  another  of  the  Virginia  Assembly,  very  flattering 
and  honorable  for  me,  not  more  so  for  the  magnitude  of  the 
gift,  than  the  avowed  gratitude,  and  delicacy  of  its  expression, 
in  the  recital  to  it.  The  purport  of  it  is,  to  vest  ioo  shares  (50  in 
each  navigation)98  in  me  and  my  heirs  forever.  But  it  is  not 
my  intention  to  accept  of  it;  altho',  were  I  otherwise  disposed,  I 
should  consider  it  as  the  foundation  of  the  greatest  and  most 
certain  income  that  the  like  sum  can  produce  in  any  specula- 
tion whatever.  So  certain  is  the  accomplishment  of  the  work,  if 
the  sum  proposed  should  be  raised  to  carry  it  on,  and  so  incon- 
ceivably will  the  tolls  increase  by  the  accumulating  produce 
which  will  be  water  borne  on  the  navigation  of  these  two 
rivers,  which  penetrate  so  far  and  communicate  so  nearly,  with 
the  navigable  waters  to  the  Westward. 

At  the  same  time  that  I  determine  not  to  accept  this  generous 
and  gratuitous  offer  of  my  Country,  I  am  at  a  loss  in  what  man- 
ner to  decline  it,  without  an  apparent  slight  or  disrespect  to  the 
Assembly  on  the  one  hand,  or  exposing  myself  to  the  imputation 
of  pride,  or  an  ostentatious  display  of  disinterestedness  on  the 
other,  neither  have  an  existence  in  my  breast,  and  neither  would 
I  wish  to  have  ascribed  to  me.  I  shall  have  time  however  to  think 
of  the  matter,  before  the  next  session ;  for  as  if  it  was  meant  that 
I  should  have  no  opportunity  to  decline  the  offer  at  the  last,  it 
was  the  closing  act  thereof,  without  any  previous  intimation,  or 
suspicion  in  my  mind,  of  the  intention.  Admitting  that  Com- 
panies should  be  incorporated  for  the  purposes  mentioned  in 
the  Act,  do  you  conceive  my  good  Sir,  that  a  person  perfectly 
skilled  in  works  of  this  sort,  could  be  readily  obtained  from 
England?  And  upon  what  terms  ? 

98 See  note  to  Washington's  letter  to  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  Feb.  15,  1785,  ante. 


It  is  unnecessary  I  persuade  myself,  to  use  arguments  to  con- 
vince Mrs.  Fairfax  and  yourself,  to  the  sincere  regard  and  at- 
tachment and  affection  Mrs.  Washington  and  I  have  for  you 
both,  or  to  assure  you  how  much,  I  am,  etc. 

P.  S.  Do  you  think  it  would  be  in  your  power,  with  ease  and 
convenience,  to  procure  for  me,  a  male  and  female  Deer  or  two, 
the  cost  of  transportation  I  would  gladly  be  at.  If  I  should  ever 
get  relieved  from  the  drudgery  of  the  pen,  it  would  be  my  wish 
to  engage  in  these  kind  of  rural  amusements,  raising  of  shrub- 
beries &c.  After  what  I  have  said  in  the  body  of  this  letter,  I  will 
not  trouble  you  with  an  apology  for  such  a  scrawl  as  it  now 
exhibits,  you  must  receive  it,  my  good  Sir,  as  we  have  done  bet- 
ter things,  better  for  worse." 


Mount  Vernon,  February  27, 1785. 

My  Lady:  The  very  polite  and  obliging  letter  which  you  did 
me  the  honor  to  write  to  me  on  the  8th.  of  April  by  Sir  James 
Jay,  never  came  to  my  hands  until  the  17th.  of  last  month,  and 
is  the  best  apology  I  can  make  for  a  silence,  which  might  other- 
wise appear  inattentive,  if  not  disrespectful,  to  a  correspond- 
ence which  does  me  much  honor. 

The  other  letter  which  your  Ladyship  refers  to,  as  having 
passed  thro'  the  medium  of  our  good  friend  Mr.  Fairfax  has 
never  yet  appeared;  and  it  is  matter  of  great  regret,  that  letters 
are  so  often  intercepted  by  negligence,  curiosity  or  motives 
still  more  unworthy.  I  am  persuaded  that  some  of  my  letters 
to  Mr.  Fairfax,  as  well  as  his  (covering  your  Ladyships)  to  me, 
have  miscarried,  as  I  have  never  received  an  acknowledgment 
of  some  of  mine  to  him,  tho'  long  since  written. 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


With  respect  to  your  humane  and  benevolent  intentions  to- 
wards the  Indians,  and  the  plan  which  your  Ladyship  has 
adopted  to  carry  them  into  effect,  they  meet  my  highest  appro- 
bation; and  I  should  be  very  happy  to  find  every  possible  en- 
couragement given  to  them.  It  has  ever  been  my  opinion,  since 
I  have  had  opportunities  to  observe,  and  to  reflect  upon  the 
ignorance,  indolence  and  general  pursuits  of  the  Indians,  that 
all  attempts  to  reclaim,  and  introduce  any  system  of  religeon 
or  morality  among  them,  would  prove  fruitless,  until  they 
could  be  first  brought  into  a  state  of  greater  civilization;  at 
least  that  this  attempt  should  accompany  the  other,  and  be  en- 
forced by  example :  and  I  am  happy  to  find  that  it  is  made  the 
ground  work  of  your  Ladyships  plan. 

With  respect  to  the  other  parts  of  the  plan,  and  the  prospect 
of  obtaining  Lands  for  the  Emigrants,  who  are  to  be  the  instru- 
ments employed  in  the  execution  of  it,  my  letter  to  Sir  James 
Jay  in  answer  to  his  to  me  on  this  subject,  will  convey  every 
information,  which  is  in  my  power,  at  this  time  to  give  your 
Ladyship;  and  therefore  I  take  the  liberty  of  enclosing  a  tran- 
script of  it.  Agreeably  to  the  assurance  given  in  it,  I  have  writ- 
ten fully  to  the  President  of  Congress,  with  whom  I  have  a 
particular  intimacy,  and  transmitted  copies  of  your  Ladyships 
plan,  addresses  and  letter  to  the  several  States  therein  men- 
tioned, with  my  approving  sentiments  thereon.  I  have  in- 
formed him,  that  tho'  it  comes  to  him  as  a  private  letter  from 
me;  it  is  nevertheless  optional  in  him  to  make  it  a  matter  of 
private  communication  to  the  members  individually,  or  offi- 
cially to  Congress,  as  his  judgment  shall  dictate;  giving  it  as 
my  opinion,  among  other  reasons,  that  I  did  not  believe  since 
the  cession  of  Lands  by  individual  States  to  the  United  States, 
any  one  of  them  (except  New  York)  was  in  circumstances, 
however  well  inclined  it  might  be,  to  carry  your  Ladyships 
plan  into  effect. 


What  may  be  the  result  of  your  Ladyships  Addresses  to  the 
States  of  North  Carolina,  Virginia,  Pennsylvania  and  New 
York,  individually;  or  of  my  statemt.  of  the  matter  in  a  friendly 
way  to  the  President  of  Congress  for  the  united  deliberation  of 
the  whole,  is  not  for  me  to  anticipate,  even  were  I  acquainted 
with  their  sentiments.  I  have  already  observed,  that  neither  of 
the  States  (unless  Nw.  York  may  be  in  circumstances  to  do 
it)  can  in  my  opinion  furnish  good  Lands  in  a  body  for  such 
emigrants  as  your  Ladyship  seems  inclin'd  to  provide  for.  That 
Congress  can,  if  the  treaty  which  is  now  depending  with  the 
Western  Indians  should  terminate  favourably  and  a  cession  of 
Lands  be  obtained  from  them,  which  I  presume  is  one  object 
for  holding  it,  is  certain;  and  unless  the  reasons  which  I  have 
mentioned  in  my  letter  to  Sir  James  Jay  should  be  a  lot  or  bar, 
I  have  not  a  doubt  but  that  they  would  do  it;  in  which  case, 
any  quantity  of  Land  (within  such  cession  or  purchase)  might 
be  obtained.  If,  ultimately,  success  should  not  attend  any  of 
these  applications,  I  submit  as  a  dernier  resort,  for  your  Lady- 
ships information  and  consideration,  a  Gazette  containing 
the  terms  upon  which  I  have  offered  several  tracts  of  Land  (the 
quantity  of  my  own  in  that  country,  and  which  lie  as  convenient 
to  the  Western  Tribes  of  Indians  as  any  in  that  territory  (apper- 
taining to  an  individual  State),  as  your  Ladyship  may  perceive 
by  having  recourse  to  Hutchins's  Evans's,  or  any  other  map  of 
that  Country,  and  comparing  the  descriptive  Lands  therewith; 
and  being  informed  that  Virginia  has  ceded  all  her  claim  to 
lands  No.  West  of  the  Ohio,  to  the  United  States,  and  that  the 
Western  boundary  of  Pennsylvania  is  terminate  by  a  meridian 
which  crosses  the  river  but  a  little  distance  from  Fort  Pitt. 

It  will  appear  evident,  from  the  date  of  my  publication,  that 
I  could  not  at  the  time  it  was  promulgated,  have  had  an  eye  to 
your  Ladyships  plan  of  emigration;  and  I  earnestly  pray  that 

1785]  LAND   VALUES  89 

my  communication  of  the  matter  at  this  time,  may  receive  no 
other  interpretation  than  what  is  really  meant,  that  is,  a  last  (if 
it  should  be  thought  an  eligible)  resort.  I  have  no  doubt  but 
that  Lands,  if  to  be  had  at  all,  may  be  obtained  from  the  United 
States,  or  an  individual  State,  upon  easier  terms  than  those 
upon  which  I  have  offered  mine;  but  being  equally  persuaded 
that  these  of  mine,  from  their  situation  and  other  local  advan- 
tages, are  worth  what  I  ask,  I  should  not  incline  to  take  less  for 
them,  unless  the  whole  by  good  and  responsible  characters 
(after  an  Agent  in  their  behalf  had  previously  examined  into 
the  quality  and  conveniency  of  the  land)  should  be  engaged 
upon  either  of  the  tenures  that  are  published;  especially  as 
these  Lands,  from  their  particular  situation,  must  become  ex- 
ceedingly valuable,  by  the  Laws  which  have  just  passed  the 
Assemblies  of  Virginia  and  Maryland  for  improving  and  ex- 
tending the  navigation  of  Potomac,  as  high  as  is  practicable, 
and  communicating  it  with  the  nearest  western  waters  by  good 
roads:  and  by  the  former  Assembly  to  do  the  same  thing  with 
James  river,  and  the  communication  between  it  and  the  Great 
Kanhawa,  by  means  of  which  the  produce  of  the  settlers  on 
these  Lands  of  mine,  will  come  easily  and  cheaply  to  market. 
I  am,  etc.1 


Mount  Vernon,  February  27, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  I  have  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  Excellency's 
letter  of  the  5th.  enclosing  the  Act  of  the  Legislature  for  vest- 
ing in  me  and  my  heirs,  fifty  shares  in  the  navigation  of  each 
of  the  rivers  Potomac  and  James.2  For  your  trouble  and  at- 
tention in  forwarding  the  Act,  you  will  please  to  accept  my 

^rom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

2The  act  is  in  the  Washington  Papers  under  date  of  Jan.  5,  1785. 


thanks;  whilst  to  the  Assembly  for  passing  it,  these  with  all 
my  gratitude,  are  due.  I  shall  ever  consider  this  Act  as  an 
unequivocal,  and  substantial  testimony  of  the  approving  voice 
of  my  Country  for  the  part  I  have  acted  in  the  Amn.  theatre, 
and  shall  feast  upon  the  recollection  of  it  as  often  as  it  occurs 
to  me;  but  this  is  all  I  can,  or  mean  to  do.  It  was  my  first 
declaration  in  Congress  after  accepting  my  military  appoint- 
ment, that  I  would  not  receive  any  thing  for  such  services  as 
I  might  be  able  to  render  the  cause  in  which  I  had  embarked. 
It  was  my  fixed  determination  when  I  surrendered  that  ap- 
pointment, never  to  hold  any  other  office  under  Government, 
by  which  emolument  might  become  a  necessary  appendage: 
or,  in  other  words,  which  should  withdraw  me  from  the  neces- 
sary attention  which  my  own  private  concerns  indispensably 
required:  nor  to  accept  of  any  pecuniary  acknowledgment, 
for  what  had  passed;  from  this  resolution,  my  mind  has  never 
yet  swerved.  The  Act  therefore,  which  your  Excellency  en- 
closed, is  embarrassing  to  me.  On  the  one  hand  I  shall  be 
unhappy  if  my  non-acceptance  of  the  shares  should  be  con- 
sidered as  a  slight  of  the  favor,  (the  magnitude  of  which,  I 
think  very  highly  of)  or  disrespectful  to  the  generous  inten- 
tion of  my  Country.  On  the  other  I  should  be  equally  hurt 
if  motives  of  pride,  or  an  ostentatious  display  of  disinterested- 
ness should  be  ascribed  to  the  action.  None  of  these  have  exist- 
ence in  my  breast,  and  none  of  them  would  I  have  imputed 
to  me,  whilst  I  am  endulging  the  bent  of  my  inclination  by 
acting  independant  of  rewards  for  occasional  and  accidental 
services.  Besides,  may  not  the  plans  be  affected;  unless  some 
expedient  can  be  hit  upon  to  avoid  the  shock  which  may  be 
sustained,  by  withdrawing  so  many  shares  from  them? 

Under  these  circumstances,  and  with  this  knowledge  of  my 
wishes  and  intention  I  would  thank  your  Excellency  for  your 


frank  and  full  opinion  of  this  matter,  in  a  friendly  way,  as 
this  letter  to  you  is  written  and  I  hope  will  be  considered.  I 
am,  etc.3 


Mount  Vernon,  February  28, 1785. 
Madam,:  I  received  your  favor  of  the  20th.  of  January,  some 
considerable  time  after  the  date  of  it.  I  have  never  received, 
nor  have  I  ever  heard  any  thing  of  Mrs.  Savages  Will,  since 
your  deceased  husband  put  it  into  my  hands,  and  then  re- 
claimed it  in  December  1783  as  I  passed  through  Baltimore 
on  my  way  to  Virginia,  to  be  sent  (for  I  could  see  no  propriety 
in  any  thing  else)  to  the  Executors  named  therein,  to  act  under. 
I  am  Madam  Yr.  etc.3 


Mount  Vernon,  February  28, 1785. 
My  dear  Sir:  Your  favor  of  the  31st.  Ulto.  came  to  my  hands 
by  the  last  Post,  enclosed  are  letters  under  flying  Seals  to  Count 
de  Rochambeau  and  the  Marqs.  de  Chartellux  (late  Chevr.) 
introductory  of  Mr.  Swan.4  Also  certificates  for  Lieutts.  Sea- 
ver5  and  Henley.6  if  these  will  answer  the  purposes  designed 
I  shall  think  nothing  of  the  trouble,  but  be  happy  in  having 
given  them. 

3 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

4  A  member  of  the  Massachusetts  Legislature.  Copies  of  Washington's  notes  of  intro- 
duction to  Rochambeau  and  Chastellux  are  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington 
Papers,  dated  Feb.  28,  1785. 

c  Lieut.  James  Sever  (Seaver),  of  Jackson's  Continental  Regiment,  in  which  he  had 
served  to  June  20,  1784.  He  afterwards  became  a  captain  in  the  United  States  Navy, 
and  in  1785  wished  a  certificate  to  aid  him  in  obtaining  a  position  in  the  Dutch  service. 

6  Lieut.  Samuel  Henley.  He  is  ranked  as  a  captain  in  the  Ninth  Massachusetts  Regi- 
ment, and  was  retired  in  January,  1783.  He  hoped  to  enter  the  Russian  service. 


Upon  Summing  up  the  cost  of  my  projected  building  in 
Alexandria,  I  found  my  finances  not  equal  to  the  undertaking; 
and  have  thereupon  suspended,  if  not  altogether  declined  it. 
Notwithstanding,  if  any  Vessel  should  be  coming  hither  from 
that  part  of  your  state  where  the  Limestone  abounds,  and 
where  it  is  to  be  obtained  at  a  low  price,  and  would  bring  it  at  a 
low  freight,  unburn'd.  or  if  in  this  State  it  could  be  brought 
hither  from  Boston  as  Ballast,  or  at  a  low  freight,  I  should  be 
glad  to  get  some;  in  either  of  these  ways.  I  use  a  great  deal  of 
lime  every  year,  made  of  the  Oyster  shells,  which,  before  they 
are  burnt,  cost  me  25  a  [sic]  30/  pr.  hundred  Bushels;  but  it  is 
of  mean  quality,  which  makes  me  desirious  of  trying  Stone 

The  Assemblies  of  Virginia  and  Maryland  passed  laws  be- 
fore their  adjournment,  for  improving  and  extending  the  Nav- 
igation of  this  River  as  far  as  it  shall  be  found  practicable;  a 
copy  of  which  (for  they  are  exactly  the  same  in  both  States)  I 
send  you;  they  also  gave  a  sum  of  money  for  the  purpose  of 
opening,  and  keeping  in  repair,  a  good  road  of  communication 
between  the  Eastern  and  Western  Waters.  And  this  State 
passed  a  Similar  Act  respecting  James  River,  and  the  Com- 
munication with  Green  Brier  (a  branch  of  the  Great  Kan- 
hawa)  which  opens  equally  advantageously  to  another  part  of 
the  Western  territory;  shares  in  either  or  both  of  which,  in  my 
opinion,  presents  a  monied  men  the  most  certain,  and  lucra- 
tive Speculation  of  wch.  I  can  have  any  idea. 

The  State  of  Virginia  accompanied  these  proceedings  with 
another  Act,  which  particularly  respected  myself;  and  tho' 
generous  in  the  extreme,  is  rendered  more  valuable  by  the  flat- 
tering, yet  delicate  expression  of  its  recitals.  It  directs  their 
Treasurer  to  subscribe  for  my  use  and  benefit,  one  hundred 
shares  (50  in  each  Navigation);  which  it  declares  vested  in 
me  and  my  heirs  for  ever.  But  I  can  truly  aver  to  you,  my  dear 

1785]  ST.  CROIX  RIVER  93 

Sir,  that  this  Act  has  given  me  more  pain  than  pleasure.  It 
never  was  my  inclination,  nor  is  it  now  my  intention,  to  accept 
anything  pecuniary  from  the  public:  but  how  to  decline  this 
gift  without  appearing  to  slight  the  favors  (which  the  assembly 
ascribe  to  a  sense  of  gratitude)  of  my  Country,  and  exhibiting 
an  act  of  seeming  disrespect  to  the  Legislature  on  the  one  hand, 
or  incurring  the  imputation  of  pride,  or  an  ostentatious  display 
of  disinterestedness  on  the  other,  is  my  embarrassment,  but  I 
must  endeavor  to  hit  upon  some  expedient  before  the  next 
Session  (for  I  had  not  the  smallest  intimation  of  the  matter 
before  the  rising  of  the  last)  to  avoid  any  of  these  charges,  and 
yet  follow  the  bent  of  my  wishes;  which  are  to  be  as  independ- 
ent as  the  Air.  I  have  no  body  to  provide  for,  and  I  have 
enough  to  support  me  through  life  in  the  plain,  and  easy  style 
in  which  I  mean  to  spend  the  remainder  of  my  days. 

I  thank  you  for  the  particular  acct.  which  you  have  given  me 
of  the  different  Rivers  to  which  the  British  have  given  the 
names  of  St.  Croix;  I  shall  be  much  mistaken  if  they  do  not 
in  other  matters,  as  well  as  this,  give  us  a  good  deal  of  trouble 
before  we  are  done  with  them,  and  yet,  it  does  not  appear  to 
me,  that  we  have  wisdom,  or  national  policy  enough  to  avert 
the  evils  which  are  impending.  How  should  we,  when  con- 
tracted ideas,  local  pursuits,  and  absurd  jealousy  are  continu- 
ally leading  us  from  those  great  and  fundamental  principles 
which  are  characteristic  of  wise  and  powerful  Nations;  and 
without  which,  we  are  no  more  than  a  rope  of  Sand,  and  shall 
as  easily  be  broken. 

In  the  course  of  your  literary  disputes  at  Boston  (on  the  one 
side  to  drink  Tea  in  Company,  and  to  be  social  and  gay,  on  the 
other,  to  impose  restraints  which  at  no  time  ever  were  agree- 
able, and  in  these  days  of  more  liberty  and  endulgence,  never 
will  be  submitted  to)  I  perceive,  and  was  most  interested  by, 
something  which  was  said  respecting  the  composition  for  a 

94  WRITINGS  OF  WASHINGTON         [March 

public  walk;  which  also  appeared  to  be  one  of  the  exceptionable 
things.  Now,  as  I  am  engaged  in  works  of  this  kind,  I  would 
thank  you,  if  there  is  any  art  in  the  preparation,  to  communi- 
cate it  to  me.  whether  designed  for  Carriages,  or  walking.  My 
Gardens  have  gravel  walks  (as  you  possibly  may  recollect)  in 
the  usual  Style,  but  if  a  better  composition  has  been  discovered 
for  these,  I  should  gladly  adopt  it.  the  matter  however  which 
I  wish  principally  to  be  informed  in,  is,  whether  your  walks 
are  designed  for  Carriages,  and  if  so,  how  they  are  prepared, 
to  resist  the  impression  of  the  Wheels.  I  am  making  a  serpen- 
tine road  to  my  door,  and  have  doubts  (which  it  may  be  in  your 
power  to  remove)  whether  any  thing  short  of  solid  pavement 
will  answer. 

Having  received  a  letter  from  Majr.  Keith7  (dated  at  New 
York)  and  not  knowing  where  to  direct  my  answer,  I  take  the 
liberty  of  putting  it  and  the  Papers  wch.  it  enclod  under  cover 
to  you,  as  he  was  of  the  Massachusetts  State,  and  I  presume  only 
came  to  New  York  on  business.  He  is  one,  among  numberless 
others,  who  want  me  to  do  inconsistent  things,  namely  to  an- 
nul, or  rather  do  away,  the  effect  of  his  Court  Martial.  The 
other  letter8  for  a  Mr.  Palmer,  be  so  good  as  to  put  into  a 
channel  for  delivery. 

Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  affectionate  regards  for  Mrs. 
Knox,  and  the  rest  of  the  Family,  and  I  am  etc.  [ms.h.s.] 


Mount  Vernon,  March  i,  1785. 
Sir:  However  much  I  may  wish  to  see  every  slur  wiped 
from  the  character  of  an  officer  who  early  embarked  in  the 

7Maj.  James  Keith. 

8  A  draft  or  copy  not  now  found  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

"Formerly  major  in  the  Eighth  Massachusetts  Regiment. 


service  of  his  Country;  and  however  desirous  I  may  be  to  alle- 
viate his  misfortunes,  it  is  nevertheless  incumbent  on  me  to 
have  regard  to  consistency  of  conduct  in  myself.  With  what 
propriety  then  could  I,  a  private  Citizen,  attempt  to  undo 
things  which  received  my  approbation  as  a  public  officer,  and 
this  too  without  the  means  of  information,  as  the  proceedings 
of  Courts  Martial  are  not  with  me :  but  if  the  case  was  other- 
wise, I  could  neither  answer  it  to  myself  or  Country,  to  retread 
the  ground  I  have  laboriously  passed  over,  was  a  door  of  this 
kind  once  opened,  I  should  be  overwhelmed  with  applications 
of  a  similar  nature;  for  I  cannot  agree  that  either  the  judg- 
ment of  the  Court  Martial,  or  the  approbation  of  it  proceeded, 
as  you  suppose,  from  the  policy  of  offering  a  victim  to  appease 
the  clamors  of  the  populace.  It  is  unnecessary  however  to  go 
into  arguments  upon  the  subject  when,  admitting  there  was 
error,  redress  can  only  be  had  from  the  supreme  Council  of 
the  nation,  or  to  the  State  to  which  you  belong.  I  am  sorry 
it  has  been  your  lott  to  be  brought  before  a  Court,  much  more 
so  for  the  issue,  and  if  I  could  with  propriety  place  you  in 
the  full  enjoyment  of  every  thing  you  wish,  I  shou'd  have 
pleasure  in  doing  it,  but  it  is  not  in  my  power  in  the  present 
instance.  I  am,  etc.10 


Mount  Vernon,  March  i,  1785. 
Sir:  Whilst  I  was  at  Richmond  in  November  last,  I  received 
a  letter  and  extracts  from  you  on  the  subject  of  emigration. 
It  was  put  into  my  hands  at  a  time  when  I  was  much  engaged, 
accompanied  by  many  other  papers,  which  with  them  were 
put  by  and  forgotten,  until  your  second  letter  reminded  me 

10 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

96  WRITINGS  OF  WASHINGTON         [March 

of  them.  As  I  do  not  clearly  comprehend  your  plan,  and  if 
I  did,  as  a  discussion  of  it  by  letter  would  be  tedious  and  less 
satisfactory,  if  you  will  be  at  the  trouble  of  calling  upon  me 
at  any  time  when  I  am  in  Alexandria,  or  of  riding  down  here; 
I  will  give  you  my  sentiments  with  freedom  and  candour, 
when  I  more  fully  understand  it.  I  am,  etc.11 


Mount  Vernon,  March  8,  1785. 

Dr.  Sir :  Since  my  last  to  you,  I  have  been  favored  with  sev- 
eral of  your  letters,  which  should  not  have  remained  so  long 
unacknowledged,  had  I  not  been  a  good  deal  pressed  by  mat- 
ters which  could  not  well  be  delayed;  and  because  I  found  a 
difficulty  in  complying  with  your  request  respecting  the  pro- 
files; the  latter  it  is  not  in  my  power  to  do  now,  satisfactorily. 
Some  imperfect  miniature  cuts  I  send  you  under  cover  with 
this  letter,  they  were  designed  for  me  by  Miss  D'Hart  of  Eliza- 
bethtown,  and  given  to  Mrs.  Washington;  who  in  sparing 
them,  only  wishes  they  may  answer  your  purpose.  For  her 
I  can  get  none  cut  yet.  If  Mr.  Du'  Simitire  is  living,  and  at 
Philada.,  it  is  possible  he  may  have  miniature  engravings  of 
most,  if  not  all  the  military  characters  you  want,  and  in  their 
proper  dresses:  he  drew  many  good  likenesses  from  the  life, 
and  got  them  engraved  at  Paris  for  sale;  among  these  I  have 
seen  Genl.  Gates,  Baron  de  Steuben,  &c,  as  also  that  of  your 
hble  servt.  The  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette  had  left  this  before 
your  request  of  his  profile  came  to  hand. 

You  ask  if  the  character  of  Colo.  John  Lawrens,  as  drawn 
in  the  Independant  Chronicle  of  the  2d  of  Deer,  last,  is  just. 
I  answer,  that  such  parts  of  the  drawing  as  have  fallen  under 
my  own  observation,  is  literally  so;  and  that  it  is  my  firm 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  FORT   WASHINGTON  97 

belief  his  merits  and  worth  richly  entitle  him  to  the  whole 
picture :  no  man  possessed  more  of  the  amor  patrice,  in  a  word, 
he  had  not  a  fault  that  I  ever  could  discover,  unless  intrepidity 
bordering  upon  rashness  could  come  under  that  denomination; 
and  to  this  he  was  excited  by  the  purest  motives. 

The  order12  alluded  to  in  my  private  letter,  a  copy  of  which 
you  requested,  I  now  send.  You  might  have  observed,  for  I 
believe  the  same  private  letter  takes  notice  thereof,  that  it  was 
consequent  of  a  resolve  of  Congress,  that  Fort  Washington 
was  so  pertinaceously  held,  before  the  Ships  passed  that  Post. 
Without  unpacking  chests,  unbundling  papers  &ca.,  I  cannot 
come  at  to  give  you  a  copy  of  that  resolve;  but  I  well  remember 
that  after  reciting  the  importance  of  securing  the  upper  navi- 
gation of  the  Hudson,  I  am  directed  to  obtain  hulks,  to  sink 
them  for  the  purpose  of  obstructing  the  navigation,  and  to 
spare  no  other  cost  to  effect  it.  Owing  to  this  the  Posts  of  Forts 
Washington  and  Lee,  on  account  of  the  narrowness  of 
the  river,  some  peculiarity  of  the  channel,  and  strength  of  the 
ground  at  these  places,  were  laboriously  fortified;  owing  to 
this  we  left  Fort  Washington  strongly  garrisoned,  in  our  rear, 
when  we  were  obliged  to  retreat  to  the  White  plains;  and 
owing  to  this,  also,  Colo.  Magaw,  who  commanded  at  it,  was 
ordered  to  defend  it  to  the  last  extremity.  But  when,  maugre 
all  the  obstructions  which  had  been  thrown  into  the  chan- 
nel, all  the  labour  and  expence  wch.  had  been  bestowed  on  the 
works,  and  the  risks  we  had  run  of  the  garrison  theretofore, 
the  British  Ships  of  War  had,  and  could  pass  those  Posts,  it 
was  clear  to  me  from  that  moment,  that  they  were  no  longer 
eligible,  and  that  that  on  the  East  side  of  the  river  ought  to  be 
withdrawn  whilst  it  was  in  our  power:  in  consequence  thereof 

"See  Washington's  letter  to  Maj.  Gen.  Nathanael  Greene,  Nov.  8,  1776  (vol.  6, 
p.  257).  (See  also  Washington's  letter  to  John  Augustine  Washington,  Nov.  6,  1776, 
p.  244,  of  the  same  volume.) 

98  WRITINGS  OF  WASHINGTON         [March 

the  letter  of  the  8th.  of  Novr.  1776,  was  written  to  Genl.  Greene 
from  the  White  plains;  that  Post  and  all  the  troops  in  the 
vicinity  of  it  being  under  his  orders.  I  give  this  information, 
and  I  furnish  you  with  a  copy  of  the  order  for  the  evacuation 
of  Fort  Washington,  because  you  desire  it,  not  that  I  want  to 
exculpate  myself  from  any  censure  which  may  have  fallen  on 
me  by  charging  another.  I  have  sent  your  recipe  for  the  pres- 
ervation of  young  plants  to  the  Alexandria  printer;  and  wish 
the  salutary  effect  which  the  author  of  the  discovery,  in  the 
annual  register  has  pointed  to,  may  be  realized :  the  process  is 
simple  and  not  expensive  which  renders  it  more  valuable. 

Some  Accots.  say,  that  matters  are  in  train  for  an  accommo- 
dation between  the  Austrians  and  Dutch;  if  so  the  flames  of 
war  may  be  arrested  before  they  blaze  out  and  become  very 
extensive;  but  admitting  the  contrary,  I  hope  none  of  the 
sparks  will  light  on  American  ground,  which  I  fear  is  made 
up  of  too  much  combustible  matter  for  its  well-being. 

Your  young  friend13  is  in  high  health,  and  as  full  of  spirits 
as  an  egg  shell  is  of  meat.  I  informed  him  I  was  going  to 
write  to  you,  and  desired  to  know  if  he  had  any  commands; 
his  spontaneous  answer,  I  beg  he  will  make  haste  and  come 
here  again.  All  the  rest  of  the  family  are  well,  except  Mrs. 
Washington,  who  is  too  often  troubled  with  bilious  and  chol- 
icky  complaints,  to  enjoy  perfect  health;  all  join  in  best  wishes 
for  you  and  yours  with  Dr.  Sir,  &c.14 


Mount  Vernon,  March  8, 1785. 
Revd.  Sir:  From  the  cursory  manner  in  wch.  you  expressed 
the  wish  of  Mr.  Bowie15  to  write  the  Memoirs  of  my  life,  I  was 

"George  Washington  Parke  Custis. 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

"John  Bowie. 


not,  at  the  moment  of  your  application  and  my  assent  to  it, 
struck  with  the  consequences  to  which  it  tended:  but  when  I 
came  to  reflect  upon  the  matter  afterwards,  and  had  had  some 
conversation  with  Mr.  Bowie  on  the  subject;  I  found  that  this 
must  be  a  very  futile  work  (if  under  any  circumstances  it  could 
be  made  interesting)  unless  he  could  be  furnished  with  the  in- 
cidents of  my  life,  either  from  my  papers,  or  my  recollection, 
and  digesting  of  past  transactions  into  some  sort  of  form  and 
order  with  respect  to  times  and  circumstances:  I  knew  also 
that  many  of  the  former  relative  to  the  part  I  had  acted  in  the 
war  between  France  and  G:  Britain  from  the  year  1754,  until 
the  peace  of  Paris;  and  which  contained  some  of  the  most 
interesting  occurrences  of  my  life,  were  lost;  that  my  memory 
is  too  treacherous  to  be  relied  on  to  supply  this  defect,  and  admit- 
ting both  were  more  perfect,  that  submitting  such  a  publica- 
tion to  the  world  whilst  I  continue  on  the  theatre,  might  be 
ascribed  (however  involuntarily  I  was  led  into  it)  to  vain 

These  considerations  prompted  me  to  tell  Mr.  Bowie,  when  I 
saw  him  at  Philada.  in  May  last,  that  I  could  have  no  agency 
towards  the  publication  of  any  Memoirs  respecting  myself 
whilst  living:  but  as  I  had  given  my  assent  to  you  (when  asked) 
to  have  them  written,  and  as  he  had  been  the  first  to  propose  it, 
he  was  welcome  if  he  thought  his  time  would  not  be  unprofit- 
ably  spent,  to  take  extracts  from  such  documents  as  yet  re- 
mained in  my  possession,  and  to  avail  himself  of  any  other 
information  I  could  give;  provided  the  publication  should  be 
suspended  until  I  had  quitted  the  stage  of  human  action.  I 
then  intended,  as  I  informed  him,  to  have  devoted  the  present 
expiring  winter  in  arranging  all  my  papers  which  I  had  left  at 
home,  and  which  I  found  a  mere  mass  of  confusion  (occa- 
sioned by  frequently  shifting  them  into  trunks,  and  suddenly 

100  WRITINGS  OF  WASHINGTON         [March 

removing  them  from  the  reach  of  the  enemy) ;  but  however 
strange  it  may  seem  it  is  nevertheless  true,  that  what  with  com- 
pany; referrences  of  old  matters  with  which  I  ought  not  to  be 
troubled,  applications  for  certificates,  and  copies  of  orders,  in 
addition  to  the  routine  of  letters  which  have  multiplied  greatly 
upon  me;  I  have  not  been  able  to  touch  a  single  paper,  or  trans- 
act any  business  of  my  own,  in  the  way  of  accts.  and  during  the 
whole  course  of  the  winter;  or  in  a  word,  since  my  retirement 
from  public  life. 

I  have  two  reasons,  my  good  sir,  for  making  these  communi- 
cations to  you,  the  first  is,  by  way  of  apology  for  not  complying 
with  my  promise  in  the  full  extent  you  might  expect,  in  favor 
of  Mr.  Bowie.  The  second  is,  not  knowing  where  that  Gentle- 
man resides  I  am  at  a  loss  without  your  assistance,  to  give  him 
the  information  respecting  the  disordered  state  of  my  papers, 
which  he  was  told  should  be  arranged,  and  a  proper  selection 
of  them  made  for  his  inspection,  by  the  Spring.  Upon  your 
kindness  therefore  I  must  rely  to  convey  this  information  to 
him;  for  tho'  I  shou'd  be  glad  at  all  times,  to  see  Mr.  Bowie  here, 
I  should  be  unhappy  if  expectations  which  cannot  be  realized 
(in  the  present  moment)  shou'd  withdraw  him  from,  or  cause 
him  to  forego  some  other  pursuits  which  may  be  more  advan- 
tageous to  him.  My  respects  if  you  please  to  Mrs.  Witherspoon. 
I  have  the  honor,  etc.16 


Mount  Vernon,  March  15, 1785. 
Sir :  It  was  but  a  few  days  ago  that  I  was  f avor'd  with  your 
letter  of  the  8th.  of  Feby.  accompanied  by  your  Map  and  his- 
tory of  Kentucke,  for  which  you  will  please  to  accept  my 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  MRS.  SAVAGE'S  WILL  101 

thanks.  Those  which  you  expect  were  handed  to  me  by  Mr. 
Page17  of  Rosewell,  are  not  yet  arrived;  nor  have  I  heard  any- 
thing from  that  gentleman  respecting  them. 

Previous  to  the  receipt  of  the  above  letter,  I  had  written  to 
you  and  addressed  my  letter  to  the  care  of  Mr.  Dunlap  printer 
in  Phila.,  taking  it  for  granted  you  must  have  received  it  'ere 
this,  I  beg  leave  to  refer  to  its  contents,  as  aught  I  could  say 
on  this  subject  would  be  only  repetition.  I  am,  etc.18 


Mount  Vernon,  March  15,  1785. 

Madam:  I  have  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  favor,  and 
duplicate,  of  the  8th.  of  Octor.  from  Lisle  in  Flanders.  I  have 
also  seen  the  Will  of  the  deceased  Mrs.  Savage. 

In  December  1783  on  my  quitting  public  life,  and  as  I  was 
returning  to  my  own  home;  I  met  at  Baltimore,  in  Maryland  a 
Mr.  Moore,  who  shewed  me  this  Will;  and  as  it  appeared  to 
be  the  original  (for  I  perfectly  recollected  the  writing  of  Mrs. 
Savage),  I  told  him  it  ought  to  have  been  placed  in  the  hands 
of  the  Executors  therein  named,  that  it  might  be  recorded  and 
acted  upon,  instead  of  bringing  it  to  this  Country,  and  pro- 
posed to  transmit  it  to  them  myself  for  this  purpose :  he  placed 
it  in  my  hands  accordingly,  but  in  less  than  half  an  hour  re- 
claimed it;  adding  that  as  he  was  about  to  sail  for  Ireland,  he 
would  take  it  there  himself.  As  I  knew  not  by  what  means 
he  became  possessed  of  this  testament,  I  knew  no  right  by 
which  I  could  withhold  it  from  him,  and  therefore  returned 
it;  with  a  request  that  he  would  furnish  me  with  a  copy  thereof, 
which  was  done  some  considerable  time  thereafter.   From  that 

:  John  Page. 

sFrom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

102  WRITINGS  OF  WASHINGTON         [March 

period  I  heard  nothing  further  of  Mr.  Moore,  the  Will  or 
anything  respecting  it,  until  last  month;  when  I  received  a 
letter  dated  Jan:  20th.  1785,  from  a  person  at  Baltimore  sub- 
scribing herself,  "Hannah  Moore",  of  which  the  enclosed  is 
a  copy,  upon  the  receipt  whereof  I  informed  the  writer,  that 
neither  the  Will,  or  any  accot.  of  it,  had  reached  my  hands; 
nor  had  I  heard  a  tittle  of  it  since. 

I  confess  there  is  something  in  this  transaction  which  car- 
ries with  it  the  face  of  mistery.  How  it  should  have  happened 
that  Mr.  Moore  whose  name  is  not  once  mentioned  in  the 
will  should  become  possessed  of  it:  that  his  widow  should  be 
enquiring  after  it,  with  the  eagerness  of  a  person  deeply  inter- 
ested therein;  and  that  the  Executors,  who  really  are  so,  first  as 
principal  legatees,  and  2dly.  as  residuary  Legatees,  shou'd  never 
have  written  a  line  on  the  subject,  or  made  the  most  distant  en- 
quiry after  the  only  property  from  whence  they  could  derive 
benefit  themselves,  or  administer  it  to  others  agreeably  to  the 
testators  directions,  is  unaccountable  to  me  upon  any  other 
principle,  than  that  of  the  Will's  never  having  yet  got  into  their 

After  assuring  you  Madam,  that  I  should  be  happy  to  render 
you  any  services  my  situation  will  admit  of;  I  must  beg  leave 
to  inform  you,  that  you  mistake  the  case  entirely,  when  you 
suppose  that  it  is  in  my  power  to  dispose  of  any  part  of  the 
deceased  Mrs.  Savage's  property.  All  that  her  Trustees  could 
have  done,  even  in  her  lifetime;  was  to  recover  the  annuity, 
which  was  as  unjustly,  as  ungenerously  withheld  from  her  by 
Doctr.  Savage  her  husband:  but  with  respect  to  the  disposal 
of  it  afterwards,  we  had  no  more  authority  than  you:  now 
she  has  made  an  absolute  distribution  of  it  herself  by  Will, 
which  her  Executors  herein  named,  are  to  see  duly  executed. 
Every  lawful  and  equitable  claim  therefore,  which  you  may 

1785]  THE  SAVAGE  ESTATE  103 

have  had  against  Mrs.  Savage  in  her  lifetime,  must  now  be 
presented  to  her  Executors;  for  it  is  they,  and  they  only,  (or  the 
Laws  if  they  refuse)  who  can  now  do  you  justice.  From 
the  words  of  the  Will  it  would  seem  to  me  that  the  legacy 
which  Mrs.  Savage  has  left  you,  does  not  preclude  any  just 
charge  you  may  have  had  against  her  for  board  &c,  if  it  was 
known  to  be  your  intention  to  make  it:  but  this  is  a  matter  of 
which  I  have  not  the  smallest  cognizance,  it  must  be  settled 
between  you  and  the  Exors  of  her  Will,  when  the  money  can 
be  recover'd  from  the  Estate  of  Doctr.  Savage,  who  is  also  dead. 
In  what  state  the  Suit  is,  I  am  unable  to  inform  you.  My 
situation  before  Peace  was  established,  and  engagements  since 
have  obliged  me  to  depend  wholly  upon  Mr.  Fairfax19  (the 
other  Trustee)  to  prosecute  it;  who,  besides  the  shutting  of 
the  Courts  at  one  time,  and  the  litigiousness  of  them  at  all 
times,  has  had  all  the  villainy  of  Dr.  Savage,  and  the  chicanery 
of  his  lawyers  to  combat.  The  Doctr.,  rather  than  fulfill  an 
engagement,  which  generosity,  justice,  humanity  and  every 
other  motive  which  should  have  influenced  an  honest  mind, 
had  recourse  to  stratagem,  and  every  delay,  to  procrastinate 
payment;  altho'  from  report,  he  has  made  an  immense  fortune. 
I  have  the  honor,  etc.20 


Mount  Vernon,  March  15, 1785. 

Sir:  It  was  my  intention,  so  soon  as  I  understood  you  meant 

to  become  the  publisher  of  a  Newspaper  at  Philadelphia,  to 

have  requested  that  your  weekly  production  might  be  sent 

to  me.  I  was  the  more  pleased  with  this  determination  when, 

10  Bryan  Fairfax. 

50 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

104  WRITINGS  OF   WASHINGTON         [March 

by  a  letter  from  my  friend  the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette,  I  found  he 
had  interested  himself  in  your  behalf. 

It  has  so  happened  that  my  Gazettes  from  Philada.,  whether 
from  inattention  at  the  printing  or  post  offices,  or  other  causes, 
come  very  irregularly  to  my  hands;  I  pray  you  therefore  to  fold 
it  like,  and  give  it  the  appearance  of  a  letter,  the  usual  covering 
of  your  Newspapers  will  do.  I  have  sometimes  suspected  that 
there  are  persons  who  having  stronger  desires  to  read  News- 
papers than  to  pay  for  them,  borrow  with  a  pretty  heavy  hand: 
this  may  be  avoided  by  deception,  and  I  know  of  no  other  way. 
I  am,  etc.21 


Mount  Vernon,  March  15, 1785. 

Sir :  I  was  favored  with  your  letter  of  the  21st.  of  Feby.,  by  the 
last  Post.  It  never  fails  to  give  me  pain  when  I  hear  of  the  suf- 
ferings of  a  deserving  Officer;  in  which  light  I  always  consid- 
ered you.  It  ever  has  been  amongst  my  first  wishes,  that  the 
circumstances  of  the  public  had  been  such  as  to  have  prevented 
the  great  loss  which  both  officers  and  Soldiers  have  sustained 
by  the  depreciation  of  their  certificates;  and  that  each  State 
would  do  something  for  those  of  their  respective  lines:  but 
having  many  to  provide  for,  and  few  places  or  things  to  be- 
stow; it  is  a  matter  of  little  wonder  that  many,  very  many, 
deserving  characters  should  go  unnoticed,  or,  to  speak  more 
properly,  unprovided  for. 

It  has  ever  been  a  maxim  with  me,  and  it  gives  regularity 
and  weight  to  my  certificates,  to  ground  them  upon  the  testi- 

21  From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

The  text  of  the  original,  said  to  be  in  Worcester  College,  Ohio,  varies  somewhat 
from  this  letter,  the  last  sentence  being  "It  has  sometimes  occurred  to  me,  that  there 
are  persons  who  wishing  to  read  News  Papers,  without  being  at  the  expence  of  pay- 
ing for  them,  make  free  with  those  which  are  addressed  to  others.  Under  the  garb 
of  a  letter,  it  is  not  presumeable  this  liberty  would  be  taken." 

1785]  CERTIFICATES  105 

mony  of  the  Genl.  officers  under  whom  the  applicant  had 
served :  this  brings  with  it  dates  and  circumstances  with  which 
I  am  oftentimes  unacquainted.  In  your  case  it  is  indispensably 
necessary;  for  you  having  been  long  out  of  the  Continental  line 
of  the  army,  I  cannot  speak  with  precision  as  to  facts.  If  there- 
fore, as  you  have  been  in  the  service  of  the  State  of  Nw.  York 
you  will  forward  to  me  the  testimonial  of  Govr.  Clinton,  I  will 
gladly  accompany  it  with  a  certificate  of  mine,  if  you  think  any 
weight  can  be  added  thereby;  to  do  which  can  only  be  attended 
with  a  little  delay,  as  the  letters  will  come  and  go  free  from 
Postage.  With  esteem  and  regard,  I  am  etc.22 


Mount  Vernon,  March  15, 1785. 

Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  24th.  of  January  came  duly  at  hand; 
but  being  written  in  French  (a  language  I  do  not  understand) 
some  time  elapsed  before  an  opportunity  presented  to  get  it 
translated.  This  I  hope  will  be  received  as  an  apology  for  the 
delay  of  my  answer. 

However  much  your  merits  deserve  recommendation,  and 
however  pleasing  it  might  be  to  me  to  offer  my  testimony  to 
such  facts  as  have  come  to  my  knowledge,  respecting  the  serv- 
ices you  have  rendered  to  these  States,  yet  to  comply  with  your 
request  of  a  letter  to  the  Count  de  Maasdam,23  would  be  in- 
consistent with  the  line  of  conduct  I  have  prescribed  for  my 

It  is  a  maxim  with  me  Sir,  to  take  no  liberties  with  exalted 
characters  to  whom  I  am  not  personally  known,  or  with  whom 
I  have  had  no  occasion  to  correspond  by  letter;  but  if  you 
shou'd  think  a  certificate  of  service  from  me  can  avail  you  in 

22 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
23  General  in  the  army  of  the  United  Netherlands. 

106  WRITINGS  OF  WASHINGTON         [March 

any  degree,  and  you  would  please  to  furnish  me  with  your 
appointmts.  and  places  of  services  (as  they  have  not  been  much 
under  my  immediate  command)  I  shall  have  pleasure  in  fur- 
nishing one. 

If  circumstances  had  permitted,  I  should  have  been  happy 
in  the  honor  of  a  visit  from  you.  I  have  a  grateful  sense  of  the 
polite  and  flattering  expression  of  your  letters;  and  with  best 
wishes  for  you  in  your  future  pursuits,  I  have  the  honor  etc.24 


Mount  Vernon,  March  15, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  I  had  the  honor  to  receive  a  letter  from  you  dated  at 
Carlisle  the  19th.  of  Novr.  last,  which  should  not  have  re- 
mained unacknowledged  until  this  time,  if  I  had  known  of 
any  opportunity  of  addressing  a  letter  to  you  in  the  Western 

I  have  now  heard  of  your  passing  thro'  Philada.  on  your  way 
to  Congress,  and  have  been  honor'd  with  a  copy  of  your  sec- 
ond treaty  with  the  Western  tribes  of  Indians,  from  the  Presi- 
dent. I  am  pleased  to  find  that  the  Indians  have  yielded  so 
much;  from  the  temper  I  heard  they  were  in,  I  apprehended 
less  compliance,  on  their  part.  This  business  being  accom- 
plished, it  would  give  me  pleasure  to  hear  that  Congress  had 
proceeded  to  the  disposal  of  the  ceded  Lands  at  a  happy  me- 
dium price,  in  a  District  sufficient  and  proper  for  a  compact 
State.  Progressive  seating  will  be  attended  with  many  advan- 
tages; sparse  settlements  with  many  evils. 

I  congratulate  you  on  your  safe  return:  the  season  was  in- 
clement and  very  unfit  for  the  place  and  business  you  were 
engaged  in.  Mrs.  Washington  presents  her  compliments  to 
you,  and  I  have  the  honor,  etc.24 

MFrom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  RUMSEY'S  BOAT  107 


Mount  Vernon,  March  15, 1785. 

Sir:  It  has  so  happened,  that  your  favor  of  the  19th.  Ulto. 
did  not  come  to  my  hands  until  the  last  mail  arrived  at  Alex- 
andria. By  the  return  of  which,  I  have  the  honor  to  address 
this  letter  to  you. 

Mr.  McMeiken's  explanation  of  the  movements  of  Rum- 
seys's  newly  invented  Boat,  is  consonant  to  my  ideas;  and  war- 
ranted by  the  principles  upon  which  it  acts.  The  small  manual 
assistance  to  which  I  alluded,  was  to  be  applied  in  still  water; 
and  to  the  purpose  of  steering  the  vessel.  The  counteraction 
being  proportioned  to  the  action,  it  must  ascend  a  swift  currt. 
faster  than  a  gentle  stream;  and  both,  with  more  ease  than  it 
can  move  on  dead  water.  But  in  the  first  there  may  be,  and 
no  doubt  is,  a  point  beyond  wch.  it  cannot  proceed  without 
involving  consequences  which  may  be  found  insurmountable. 
Further  than  this  I  am  not  at  liberty  to  explain  myself;  but  if 
a  model,  or  thing  in  miniature  can  justly  represent  a  greater 
object  in  its  operation,  there  is  no  doubt  of  the  utility  of  the 
invention.  A  view  of  this  model,  with  an  explanation,  re- 
moved the  principal  doubt  I  ever  had  in  my  mind,  of  the 
practicability  of  progressing  against  stream,  by  the  aid  of  me- 
chanical Power;  but  as  he  wanted  to  avail  himself  of  my  in- 
troduction of  it  to  the  public  attention,  I  chose,  previously, 
to  see  the  actual  performance  of  the  model  in  a  descending 
stream,  before  I  passed  my  certificate,  and  having  done  so,  all 
my  doubts  were  done  away. 

I  thank  you,  Sir,  for  your  accot.  of  the  last  Indian  treaty. 
I  had  received  a  similar  one  before,  but  do  not  comprehend  by 
what  line  it  is,  our  northern  limits  are  to  be  fixed.  Two  things 
seem  naturally  to  result  from  this  Treaty.  The  terms  on  which 

108  WRITINGS  OF  WASHINGTON         [March 

the  ceded  lands  are  to  be  disposed  of;  and  the  mode  of  settling 
them.  The  first,  in  my  opinion,  ought  not  to  be  delayed.  The 
second,  ought  not  to  be  too  diffusive.  Compact  and  progres- 
sive Seating  will  give  strength  to  the  Union;  admit  law  and 
good  government;  and  foederal  aids  at  an  early  period.  Sparse 
settlements  in  several  new  States;  or  in  a  large  territory  for 
one  State,  will  have  the  direct  contrary  effects,  and  whilst  it 
opens  a  large  field  to  Land  jobbers  and  speculators,  who  are 
prouling  about  like  Wolves  in  every  shape,  will  injure  the  real 
occupants  and  useful  citizens,  and  consequently,  the  public 
interest.  If  a  tract  of  Country,  of  convenient  size  for  a  new 
State,  contiguous  to  the  present  Settlements  on  the  Ohio,  is 
laid  off,  and  a  certain  proportion  of  the  land  therein  actually 
seated;  or  at  least  granted;  before  any  other  State  is  marked 
out  and  no  lond  suffered  to  be  had  beyond  the  limits  of  it;  we 
shall,  I  conceive,  derive  great  political  advantages  from  such 
a  line  of  conduct,  and  without  it,  may  be  involved  in  much 
trouble  and  perplexity,  before  any  New  state  will  be  well  or- 
ganized, or  can  contribute  any  thing  to  the  support  of  the 
Union.  I  have  the  honor  &c.  [n.y.h.s.] 


Mount  Vernon,  March  15, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  I  have  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  Excellency's 
favor  of  the  14th.  of  Feby.,  and  pray  you  to  receive  my  thanks 
for  the  copy  of  the  treaty  with  the  Western  Indians,  with  which 
you  were  so  obliging  as  to  send  me.  From  the  accots.  given  me 
of  the  temper  of  these  people  were  in  last  fall  I  did  not  expect 
such  a  cession  of  territory  from  the  Tribes  that  met.  The  Shaw- 
nese  are  pretty  numerous  and  among  the  most  warlike  of  the 
Ohio  Indians;  but  if  the  other  tribes  are  in  earnest  and  will 

1785]  POPULATING  THE  WEST  109 

observe  the  Treaty  and  a  third  treaty  is  concluded  with  the 
more  southerly  Indians,  their  spirit  must  yield,  or  they  could 
easily  be  extirpated. 

The  wisdom  of  Congress  will  now  be  called  upon  to  fix  a 
medium  price  on  these  Lands,  and  to  point  out  the  most  ad- 
vantageous mode  of  seating  them;  so  as  that  Law  and  good 
Governmt.  may  be  administered  and  the  Union  strengthened 
and  supported  thereby.  Progressive  seating  in  my  opinion 
is  the  only  means  by  which  this  can  be  effected;  and  unless  in 
the  scale  of  politics,  more  than  one  new  State  is  found  neces- 
sary at  this  time,  the  unit  I  believe  would  be  found  more  preg- 
nant with  advantages  than  the  decies;  the  latter,  if  I  mistake 
not,  will  be  more  advancive  of  individual  interest,  than  the 
public  welfare.  As  you  will  have  that  untowardness,  jealousy 
and  pride,  which  are  characteristic  of  the  Spanish  nation,  to 
contend  with;  it  is  more  than  probable  that  Mr.  Gardoque25 
will  give  Congress  a  good  deal  of  trouble  respecting  the  naviga- 
tion of  the  Mississippi  river.  To  me  it  should  seem,  that  their 
true  policy  would  lie  in  making  New  Orleans  a  free  mart,  in- 
stead of  shutting  the  port,  but  their  ideas  of  trade  are  very 
limitted.  I  take  the  liberty  of  putting  a  letter  under  your  cover 
for  Mr.  Lee.26  Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  respectful  com- 
pliments, and  I  am  etc.27 


Mount  Vernon,  March  19, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  Some  considerable  time  ago  I  wrote  a  letter  to 
my  nephew,  Bushrod  Washington,  and  used  the  freedom  of 

25  Diego  de  Gardoqui.  He  was  Spanish  envoy  to  the  United  States. 
28  Arthur  Lee. 

27  This  "  Letter  Book  "  copy  varies  considerably  from  the  text  printed  by  Ford,  who 
does  not  state  his  source. 

110  WRITINGS  OF  WASHINGTON         [March 

addressing  it  to  your  care.  At  that  time  I  conceived  he  was  living 
at  Richmond,  but  the  establishment  of  circuit  Courts  it  seems 
has  changed  his  plan:  he  now  intends  to  live  at  Fredericks- 
burg. Will  you  allow  me  the  liberty  my  dear  sir,  to  request  the 
favor  of  you  to  open  my  letter  to  him,  if  it  is  yet  in  yr.  posses- 
sion, and  comply  with  a  request  therein,  respecting  a  promis- 
ary  note  of  Mr.  Rian's,28  if  he  is  in  Richmond;  or  cause  it  to  be 
complied  with  if  he  is  at  Petersburgh.  If  my  memory  serves 
me,  I  have  gone  into  the  detail  of  the  matter  to  my  nephew.  I 
will  not  trouble  you  therefore,  with  a  repetition  of  it,  nor  will 
I  take  up  your  time  with  an  apology  for  the  trouble  this  must 
give  you.  Mrs.  Washington  unites  in  best  wishes  for  yourself 
and  Mr.  Randolph  with,  Dr.  Sir,  &c.29 


Mount  Vernon,  March  19, 1785. 

Sir:  If  I  recollect  right,  I  mentioned  when  I  had  the  pleasure 
of  seeing  you  at  Mr.  Jones's30  the  first  of  last  October,  that  I  was 
reduced  to  the  necessity  of  bringing  ejectments  against  sundry 
persons  who  had  taken  possession  of  a  tract  of  Land  which 
I  hold,  not  far  from  Fort  Pitt  in  the  State  of  Pennsylvania,  by 
Patent  under  this  Governmt.  for  2813  acres. 

I  have  lately  received  a  letter  from  my  Lawyer,  Mr.  Thos. 
Smith,  of  Carlisle  requesting  information  on  several  points; 
the  following  are  his  own  words, 

I  am  entirely  unacquainted  with  the  manner  in  which  titles  to  Lands 
are  acquired  by  improvement  or  occupancy,  by  the  Laws  and  customs  of 
Virginia.  I  suppose  it  must  be  under  certain  conditions  and  restrictions. 
I  should  be  glad  to  have  the  Laws,  if  any,  pointed  out.  Does  the  occupier 

28  Ryan.    (See  Washington's  letter  to  Bushrod  Washington,  Jan.  22,  1785,  ante.) 
20 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
^Gabriel  Jones,  in  the  Shenandoah  Valley. 


Forfeit  his  right  of  pre-emption,  if  he  does  not  apply  for  an  office  right 
in  a  given  time?  If  so,  when?  By  what  Laws?  Or  is  it  by  the  regu- 
lations established  in  the  Land  Office?  A  certified  copy  of  such  regula- 
tions if  any,  may  be  necessary. 

At  the  interview  I  had  with  that  Gentleman  in  September,  he 
told  me  it  would  be  necessary  to  obtain  a  certified  copy  of  the 
Surveyors  return  to  the  Land  office,  and  of  the  date  of  the  Warrt. 
upon  which  it  was  made.  The  latter  I  presume  is  in  the  hands 
of  the  Surveyor,  but  the  date  no  doubt,  is  recited  in  the  re- 
turn. Having  (in  the  life  time  of  Colo.  Crawford,  and  by 
letter  from  him)  received  information  that  at  the  convention 
next  before  the  20th.  of  Septr.  1776,  (the  date  of  his  letter) 
an  ordinance  passed  for  the  purpose  of  saving  equitable  claims 
to  the  Western  Lands,  Mr.  Smith  requested  some  precise  in- 
formation respecting  this  Ordinance,  that  is,  how  far  it  will 
apply  in  my  case. 

After  the  many  obliging  acts  of  kindness  I  have  received 
from  you,  and  the  generous  terms  upon  which  they  have  been 
rendered,  I  am  really  ashamed  to  give  you  more  trouble;  but 
as  the  dispute  in  which  I  am  engaged  is  of  importance,  and 
a  very  ungenerous  advantage  has  been  taken  of  a  situation  in 
which  I  could  not  attend  to  my  private  concerns,  or  seek  justice 
in  due  season,  and  as  I  believe  no  person  can  solve  the  queries 
of  Mr.  Smith,  and  give  such  accurate  information  on  such 
points  as  can  be  made  to  subserve  my  cause  as  you,  I  am,  how- 
ever reluctantly,  compelled  to  this  application. 

Mr.  Smith's  own  words,  which  I  have  quoted,  and  his  verbal 
application  to  me,  wch.  I  have  just  now  recited,  will  sufficiently 
apprize  you  of  what  has  occurred  to  him;  but  I  will  go  fur- 
ther, and  take  the  liberty  my  good  Sir,  of  giving  you  a  state 
of  the  whole  matter;  from  whence  you  will  discover  the  points 
on  which  my  opponents  mean  to  hinge  the  success  of  their 

112  WRITINGS  OF   WASHINGTON         [March 

Colo.  Crawford,  a  liver  on  Yohioghaney,  an  old  and  inti- 
mate acquaintance  of  mine,  undertook  to  procure  for  me  a 
tract  of  land  in  that  Country;  and  accordingly  made  choice 
of  the  one,  now  in  dispute,  on  the  waters  of  Racoon  and 
Millers  runs,  branches  of  Shurtees  Creek,  surveyed  the  same, 
amounting  to  2813  acres,  and  purchased  in  my  behalf  the 
claim  of  some  person  to  a  part  of  the  land,  who  pretended  to 
have  a  right  thereto.  After  this  he  built,  or  intended  to  build 
according  to  his  own  accot.,  and  to  the  best  of  my  recollection, 
(for  the  papers  being  in  the  hands  of  my  Lawyer,  I  have  mem- 
ory only,  and  that  a  bad  one,  to  resort  to)  three  or  four  cabbins 
on  different  parts  of  the  tract,  and  placed  one  or  more  persons 
thereon  to  hold  possession  of  it  for  my  benefit.  All  this  pre- 
ceeded  the  first  view  the  present  occupiers  (my  opponents) 
ever  had  of  the  Land,  as  they  themselves  have  acknowledged 
to  me,  and  which  I  believe  can  be  proved.  So  far  as  it  respects 
one  cabbin  there  can  be  no  doubt,  because  it  remains  to  this 
day;  and  is  acknowledged  by  them  to  have  been  on  the  land 
when  they  first  came  to  it.  They  built  another  cabbin  so  close 
to  the  door  of  it,  as  to  preclude  the  entrance  of  it :  Crawford  in 
his  accot.  of  it  to  me,  says,  with  a  view  to  prevent  occupation: 
they,  on  the  other  hand,  say  there  was  no  inhabitant  in  the 
house  at  the  time.  Both  may  be  right,  for  the  fact  is,  as  I  have 
been  informed,  the  owner  being  from  home,  this  transaction 
took  place  in  his  absence. 

It  may  be  well  to  observe  here  that  Colo.  Crawford  was  only 
acting  the  part  of  a  friend  to  me;  for  at  that  time,  tho'  he  was 
a  Surveyor  by  regular  appointment  from  the  College  of  Wm. 
and  Mary,  it  was  for  the  local  purpose  of  surveying  the  200,000 
acres  granted  by  Dinwiddie's  Proclamation  of  1754  to  the 
Troops  of  the  State,  who  were  entitled  to  it  as  a  bounty:  but 
as  I  proposed  to  cover  this  survey  with  a  military  warrant  as 

1785]  TITLE  TO  LAND  113 

soon  as  circumstances  would  permit,  these  steps  were  prelimi- 
nary to  obtain  the  Land.  Accordingly,  a  Warrant  which  I 
obtained  in  consequence  of  a  purchase  from  one  Captain  Posey 
(who  under  the  British  Kings  proclamation  of  1763  was  en- 
titled to  3000  acres)  whose  Bond  I  now  have  bearing  date  the 
14th.  of  Octr.  1770,  assigning  to  me  all  his  right  to  land  under 
it,  was  located  thereon;  and  Colo.  Crawford,  after  receiving 
a  commission  to  act  as  Deputy  to  Mr.  Thos.  Lewis,  made  a 
return  of  this  survey  to  his  principal,  who  returned  it  to  the 
Secretary's  office,  from  whence  a  Patent  issued  signed  by  Lord 
Dunmore  in  June  or  July  1774,  for  2813  acres,  reciting  under 
what  right  I  became  entitled  to  the  Land.  Hence,  and  from 
the  repeated  warnings,  which  it  is  said  can  be  proved  were 
given  at  the  time  my  opponents  were  about  to  take  possession 
of  the  Land,  and  afterwards,  comes  my  title. 

The  title  of  my  opponents  I  know  will  be:  1st.  That  Craw- 
fords  survey  was  illegal,  at  least,  was  unauthorized.  2d.  That 
being  a  great  land-jobber,  he  held,  or  endeavored  to  monop- 
olise under  one  pretence  or  other  much  land:  and  tho'  (for 
they  do  not  deny  the  fact  to  me  in  private  discussion,  altho' 
considering  the  lapse  of  time,  deaths,  and  dispersion  of  people, 
I  may  find  some  difficulty  to  prove  it)  they  were  told  this  was 
my  land;  yet  conceiving  my  name  was  only  made  use  of  as  a 
cover,  and  in  this  they  say  they  were  confirmed,  having  (after 
some  of  the  warnings  given  them)  searched  the  Land  office 
of  this  State  without  discovering  any  such  Grant  to  me.  3d. 
That  their  possession  of  the  Land,  preceded  my  Patent  or  date 
of  the  Surveyors  return  to  the  Secretary's  office;  or  even  the 
date  of  Crawfords  deputation  under  Lewis,  before  which, 
every  transaction  they  will  add,  was  invalid. 

But  to  recapitulate,  the  Dispute,  if  my  memory  for  want 
of  papers  does  not  deceive  me,  may  be  summed  up  in  these 

114  WRITINGS  OF   WASHINGTON         [March 

ist.  In  the  year  1771,  Crawford  at  my  request  looked  out 
this  Land  for  me,  and  made  an  actual  survey  thereof  on  my 

2d.  Some  person  (not  of  the  opponents)  setting  up  a  claim 
to  part  included  by  the  survey,  he  purchased  them  out,  built 
one  cabbin,  if  not  more,  and  placed  a  man  therein  to  keep 
possession  of  the  Land. 

3d.  It  was  called  my  land,  and  generally  believed  to  be  so  by 
every  body,  and  under  that  persuasion  was  left  by  some,  who 
uninformed  of  my  right,  had  begun  to  build,  before  the  pres- 
ent occupants  took  possession  to  the  exclusion  as  I  have  related 
before  of  the  person  placed  thereon  by  Crawford. 

4th.  That  sometime  in  Octr.  1773  according  to  their  own 
accot.,  these  occupants  took  possession. 

5th.  That  upon  their  doing  so,  and  at  several  times  there- 
after, they  were  notified  of  my  claim  and  intention  to  assert 
my  right. 

6th.  That  no  survey  was  ever  made  of  this  Land,  but  the 
first  one  by  Crawford. 

7th.  That  it  is  declared  in  the  Surveyors  return,  to  be  con- 
sequent of  a  warrant  granted  by  Lord  Dunmore  to  Jno.  Posey 
assigned  to  me.  But  whether  this  warrt.  is  dated  before  or 
after  possession  was  taken  by  my  opponents,  I  know  not,  but 
the  Survey  will  shew  this. 

8th.  That  after  he  received  his  deputation  (which  I  believe 
was  subsequent  to  their  occupancy)  he  made  a  return  of  the 
survey  to  Mr.  Lewis,  who  returned  it  to  the  Secretary's  Office 
in  the  early  part,  I  believe,  of  the  year  1774,  and  a  Patent  issued 
without  any  caveat  or  opposition  from  these  people. 

9th.  I  believe,  because  I  never  heard  otherwise,  that  no  office 
rights  either  in  this  State  or  that  of  Pennsylvania,  were  ever 
obtained  by  my  opponents,  resting  their  title  upon  possession. 

1785]  LEGAL  RIGHT  TO  LAND  115 

Under  this  statement  of  the  matter,  in  which  I  have  con- 
ceded everything  I  know,  or  which  I  think  can  be  urged  against 
my  claim,  I  would  thank  you,  as  the  matter  will  be  deter- 
mined in  another  State,  for  such  advice  and  information  of 
Acts  of  Assembly,  Acts  of  Convention,  or  rules  of  office  which 
make  to  the  point,  as  my  long  absence  renders  me  quite  an 
ignoramus  in  these  matters,  and  as  unfit  for,  as  I  am  disinclined 
to  controversies  of  this  kind. 

If  pre-occupancy  will  take  place  of  legal  right,  under  the 
circumstances  here  mentioned;  it  remains  still  a  question  how 
far  the  possession  and  improvements  which  were  made  in  my 
behalf,  previous  to  those  of  my  opponents,  will  avail  me;  that 
is,  under  what  title  I  should  then  claim  the  Land,  and  under 
that  title  how  much  of  it  I  should  hold,  supposing  one  Cabbin 
only  to  have  been  built  and  occupied,  by  any  rule  of  Office,  or 
Act  of  Government. 

When  I  look  back  at  the  length  of  this  letter,  and  consider 
how  much  trouble  I  am  giving  you,  I  must  thro  myself  upon 
your  goodness  for  an  apology,  whilst  I  assure  you  of  the  esteem 
and  regard  with  which  I  am,  etc.31 


Mount  Vernon,  March  20, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  I  regret  very  much  that  your  letters  of  the  2d.  and 
13th.  of  Octr.  should  have  been  withheld  from  me  until  this 
time,  the  last  post  only,  from  Richmond  brought  them  to  me. 

If  you  should  have  fulfilled  your  intention  of  embarking 
for  this  Continent  at  the  early  period  proposed  in  the  first  of 
these  letters,  (and  I  hope  no  untoward  accident  has  intervened 
to  prevent  it)  this  answer  will  come  too  late,  and  my  silence 

31  From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

116  WRITINGS  OF  WASHINGTON         [March 

will  leave  you  in  doubt  respecting  Horses,  besides  carrying 
with  it  the  appearance  of  inattention.  As  there  is  a  possibility 
however  that  this  letter  may  yet  find  you  in  Ireland,  I  will  re- 
late the  mode  of  travelling  in  this  Country,  and  submit  to  your 
own  judgment  the  propriety  of  depending  on  it,  or  bringing 
Saddle  or  Carriage  horses  with  you. 

From  the  Southern  parts  of  this  State,  say  from  Norfolk, 
thro'  Hampton,  Richmond,  Fredericksburg,  and  Alexandria 
which  is  within  a  few  miles  of  this  place,  there  is  a  regular 
Stage  which  passes  thrice  every  week,  it  is  neither  of  the  best 
or  worst  kind.  From  Alexandria  thro'  the  Metropolis  of  every 
State,  Annapolis  in  Maryland  excepted,  which  is  a  little  to  the 
right  of  the  post  road  which  goes  thro'  Baltimore.  There  is 
also  a  regular  Stage  to  Portsmouth  in  New  Hampshire,  they 
are  of  a  similar  kind,  and  pass  as  often  as  those  first  mentioned ; 
so  that  not  more  than  three  intervening  days  can  happen  be- 
tween one  Stage  day  and  another.  A  person  may  therefore,  at 
any  time  between  the  first  of  April  and  first  of  December, 
travel  from  Richmond  (the  metropolis  of  this  State)  to  Boston, 
in  ten  or  twelve  days;  and  return  in  the  same  time.  Between 
this  State  and  Charleston  (So.  Carolina)  no  Stages  are  as  yet 
established,  and  the  Country  for  the  most  part  being  poor  and 
thinly  inhabited,  accommodations  of  every  kind,  I  am  told  are 
bad.  So  much  for  public  convenience;  and  I  do  not  think  I 
should  deceive  you  much,  was  I  to  add  that  Sir  Edwd.  Newen- 
ham  would  find  no  difficulty  to  get  accommodated,  in  this  and 
some  other  States,  with  the  horses  and  carriages  of  private  gen- 
tlemen, from  place  to  place  where  inclination  or  business  might 
induce  him  to  go. 

What  the  expence  of  transporting  horses  to  this  country 
would  be,  I  am  unable  to  say;  but  I  conceive  they  would  not  be 
fit  for  immediate  use  if  they  were  brought  if  the  voyage  should 


be  long,  but  at  the  same  time  that  I  deliver  this  opinion,  I  must 
add  another,  viz:  that  if  you  should  bring  horses,  and  might 
not  incline  to  take  them  back  again,  you  could,  if  they  were 
young,  likely  and  well  bought,  always  sell  them  for  their  orig- 
inal cost  and  the  charges  of  transportation;  especially  if  they 
should  happen  to  be  of  the  female  kind. 

I  have  not  had  the  pleasure  of  seeing  either  Mr.  Rutherford 
or  Capt.  Boyle:32  but  the  latter  accompanied  your  letters  and 
packages  (for  which  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  thanks)  with  a 
few  lines,  giving  reasons  for  their  detention,  and  information 
of  his  sailing  in  the  course  of  a  few  days.  I  have  in  haste,  wrote 
you  this  letter  by  return  of  the  Post,  hoping  it  may  get  to  Rich- 
mond time  enough  to  receive  the  conveyance  by  the  Jane  and 
Diana,  that  it  may  repeat  to  you  if  it  should  arrive  in  time,  the 
pleasure  I  shall  have  in  seeing  you  and  your  fellow  travellers 
under  my  roof,  and  paying  you  and  them  every  attention  in  my 

As  the  chances  are  against  this  letter's  finding  you  in  Ire- 
land, I  will  not  at  this  time,  touch  upon  the  other  parts  of  your 
several  favors,  but  leaving  them  as  matters  for  oral  converse, 
beg  that  my  respectful  compliments  in  which  Mrs.  Washinton 
joins  may  be  presented  to  Lady  Newenham.  With  very  great 
esteem,  etc.33 


Mount  Vernon,  March  27, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  Mr.  Stone  gave  me  your  favor  of  the  20th.  When  I 
had  the  pleasure  of  seeing  you  at  this  place,  I  informed  you 

32 Capt.  John  Boyle,  jr. 

^From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

On  March  20  Washington  wrote  briefly  to  Gov.  Patrick  Henry,  forwarding  this 
letter  to  Newenham,  a  copy  of  which  is  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington 

118  WRITINGS  OF  WASHINGTON         [March 

fully  and  truly  of  my  want  of  money.  I  am  at  this  moment 
paying  7  pr.  Ct.  interest  for  a  pretty  considerable  sum  which  I 
borrowed  in  the  State  of  Nw.  York,  thro'  means  of  the  Govr.; 
and  not  being  able  to  obtain  a  surety  of  holding  it  for  more 
than  one  year  from  the  establishment  of  peace,  I  am  in  contin- 
ual fear,  notwithstanding  the  high  interest,  of  having  it  called  in. 

After  this  declaration,  it  is  unnecessary  to  add  how  acceptable 
it  would  be  to  me  to  receive  payment  of  the  money  due  to  me 
from  the  Estate  of  your  Father,  or  part  of  it:  but  to  take  it  in 
small  driblets  from  the  hands  of  your  Lawyers,  would  not  an- 
swer the  purpose  as  it  is  more  than  one  considerable  payment 
I  have  to  make  from  this  fund.  If  you  should  go  to  Congress,  I 
should  be  glad  if  the  money  arising  from  the  arrangement 
you  have  made,  was  order'd  into  the  hands  of  your  brother,  or 
your  attorney  here;  and  he  directed  to  pay  it  to  me  in  such 
sums  as  I  could  apply  in  discharge  of  my  own  Debts;  for  the 
fact  is,  I  shall  receive  with  one  hand  and  pay  with  the  other,  if 
I  may  be  allowed  to  use  the  phrase,  (but  for  which,  it  would 
not  be  required  from  you).  If  you  do  not  go  to  Congress,  I 
shall  expect  the  same  from  yourself. 

My  compliments,  in  which  Mrs.  Washington  joins,  are  pre- 
sented to  Mrs.  Mercer.  I  am,  etc.34 


Mount  Vernon,  March  29, 1785. 
Sir:  If  I  could  give  you  any  useful  information  on  the  subject 
of  your  letter  to  me,  I  would  do  it  with  pleasure;  but,  altho'  I 
have  a  good  general  knowledge  of  the  Western  Country,  I  am 
very  little  acquainted  with  local  situations,  and  less  with  those 
on  the  Susquehanna  than  any  other.  Monongahela,  of  which 

34 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  VALUE  OF  WESTERN  LAND  119 

Cheat  river  is  a  branch,  is  gentle  in  its  current,  easy  of  naviga- 
tion, and  besides,  is  supposed,  either  by  the  Cheat,  or  the  Yohio- 
ganey  (which  is  another  branch  of  it)  to  approach  nearest  to, 
and  to  afford  the  best  communication  or  portage  with  the 
Atlantic  waters  of  any  in  all  that  extensive  territory:  conse- 
quently seats  thereon,  from  this  circumstance  alone,  must  be 
valuable;  but  the  quality  of  the  Land  is  inferior  to  none,  until 
you  penetrate  much  further  to  the  Westward,  or  much  lower 
down  the  Ohio;  and  is  besides  much  better  settled  than  any  part 
of  the  country  beyond  the  Alleghaney  Mountains.  Upon  what 
terms  you  could  buy  (to  rent  I  presume  you  are  not  inclined,  or 
the  difficulty  might  be  less)  a  Seat  having  such  conveniences 
as  you  want,  I  am  unable  to  inform  you.  The  prices  of  Land 
there  are  rising  every  day,  and  if  the  plan  which  is  now  in  con- 
templation for  extending  the  navigation  of  the  Potomac  and 
opening  roads  of  communication  short  and  easy,  between  it 
and  the  waters  above  mentioned,  should  be  effected,  of  which 
I  have  no  doubt,  the  price  will  increase  much  faster. 
My  complimts.  and  best  wishes  to  Mrs.  Craig,  I  am,  etc.35 


Mount  Vernon,  March  30, 1785. 

Madam:  The  honor  which  your  pen  has  done  me  so  far  ex- 
ceeds my  merits,  that  I  am  at  a  loss  for  words  to  express  my 
sense  of  the  compliment  it  conveys. 

The  Poem,36  in  celebration  of  my  exertions  to  establish  the 
rights  of  my  Country,  was  forwarded  to  me  from  Philada.  by 
Mr.  Vogels;  to  whom  I  should  have  been  happy  to  have  of- 
fered civilities,  but  he  did  not  give  me  the  pleasure  to  see  him. 

35 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

36  A  letter  from  Madam  Van  Winter  and  her  brother,  dated  Apr.  10,  1784,  is  in  the 
Washington  Papers. 


At  best  I  have  only  been  an  instrument  in  the  hands  of  Provi- 
dence, to  effect,  with  the  aid  of  France  and  many  virtuous  fel- 
low Citizens  of  America,  a  revolution  which  is  interesting  to 
the  general  liberties  of  mankind,  and  to  the  emancipation  of  a 
country  which  may  afford  an  Asylum,  if  we  are  wise  enough 
to  pursue  the  paths  wch.  lead  to  virtue  and  happiness,  to  the  op- 
pressed and  needy  of  the  Earth.  Our  region  is  extensive,  our 
plains  are  productive,  and  if  they  are  cultivated  with  liberallity 
and  good  sense,  we  may  be  happy  ourselves,  and  diffuse  happi- 
ness to  all  who  wish  to  participate. 

The  Lady  of  whom  you  have  made  such  honorable  men- 
tion, is  truly  sensible  of  the  obligation,  and  joins  with  me  in 
wishing  you  every  happiness  which  is  to  be  found  here,  and  met 
with  hereafter.  I  have  the  honor,  etc.37 


Mount  Vernon,  April  3, 1785. 

Dear  Bushrod:  Your  letter  of  the  20th.  Ulto.  did  not  come  to 
my  hands  until  the  31st.  Whenever  you  have  occasion  to  write 
to  me  from  the  line  of  the  Post,  always  put  your  letter  into  the 
Mail,  all  other  conveyances  are  uncertain;  at  best,  irregular. 

Not  expecting  you  were  going  to  Richmond,  I  did,  pre- 
viously to  the  receipt  of  your  letter,  write  to  the  Attorney  Gen- 
eral (to  whose  care  my  letter  to  you  had  been  addressed) 
requesting  him  to  open  it;  and  so  far  as  it  respected  the  promis- 
sory Note  of  Ryan,  to  comply  with  my  desire  on  that  head. 
Being  on  the  spot,  you  can  be  informed  of  the  state  of  this  mat- 
ter, and  govern  yourself  accordingly. 

By  the  last  Post  I  inclosed  an  Advertisement  to  Mr.  Hayes38 
(the  Printer)  requesting  a  meeting  of  the  Proprietors  of  the 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

38  James  Hayes.  He  was  publisher  of  The  Virginia  Gazette,  or  American  Advertiser, 
Richmond,  Va. 

1785]  AN  ADVERTISEMENT  121 

Great  dismal  Swamp.  The  Servant  by  whom  I  sent  it  to  Alex- 
andria got  there  after  the  Mail  was  dispatched;  but  meeting 
with  the  Stage,  he  says  he  put  it  into  the  hands  of  some  body 
who  promised  to  take  care  of  it;  as  this  may,  or  may  not  be  the 
case,  I  beg  you  will  make  immediate  enquiry,  and  in  case  of 
failure,  desire  him  to  insert  the  one  herewith  inclosed  three 
weeks  in  his  Gazette.  And,  as  the  notice  will  be  short,  to  have 
it  also  published  in  some  other  Paper  of  general  circulation.  If 
nothing  unforeseen  should  happed  to  prevent  it,  I  expect  to  be 
in  Richmond  at  the  appointed  time,  and  having  no  other  busi- 
ness, should  regret  a  disappointment. 

The  Holly  berries,  Geese  and  Swan,  are  here,  but  no  men- 
tion made  of  the  Cotten.  All  here  join  me  in  best  wishes  for 
you.  I  am  etc. 

P.  S.  Upon  second  thought  I  have  sent  the  Advertisement  to 
the  Printer  himself  lest  this  letter  should  lye  in  the  Post  Office 

for  want  of  your  knowing  it  is  there.  The  one  inclosed  for 
Doctr.  Walker39  endeavor  to  forward  by  some  safe  hand.40 


Mount  Vernon,  April  5, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  In  the  latter  part  of  last  Spring,  the  Commissioners 
appointed  to  attend  the  embarkations  at  New  York,  previous 
to  the  evacuation  of  the  city,  made  a  report  of  their  proceed- 
ings to  me,  accompanied  by  a  voluminous  list  of  the  Slaves 
which  had  left  that  place.  Soon  after  having  the  pleasure  of 
Mr.  Reeds41  company  here,  he  informed  me  in  conversation, 
that  the  list42 1  had  received  was  a  duplicate  of  what  had  been 

39  Dr.  John  Walker. 

40  From  a  photostat  of  the  original  kindly  furnished  by  Judge  E.  A.  Armstrong,  of 
Princeton,  N.  J. 


42  Not  now  found  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


sent  to  Congress;  upon  which  I  filed  it  with  my  public  papers. 
By  the  last  Post  he  says  he  had  been  under  a  mistake,  and 
wished  me  to  forward  the  papers  which  are  in  my  hands,  to 
Congress.  This  I  most  assuredly  would  have  done,  but  they 
are  too  bulky  for  the  mail,  and  liable  to  much  injury  from 
the  nature  of  such  a  carriage.  However  I  will  wait  your  direc- 
tion, after  acquainting  you  that  two  of  the  Commrs.  Egbert 
Benson  Esqr.  and  Lieut.  Colo.  Smith,  with  the  Secretary  Mr. 
Saml.  Inches  (and  undoubtedly  the  papers  from  which  the 
report,  and  proceedings  were  founded)  are  in  N:  York.  If  not- 
withstanding it  is  necessary  to  resort  to  me,  the  originals  (for 
it  is  not  in  my  power  to  make  copies)  shall  be  sent;  altho  it  will 
make  a  chasm  in  my  files,  and  disappoint  many  who  apply  to 
them  for  information  respecting  their  negroes.  I  am,  etc.43 


Mount  Vernon,  April  5, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  A  few  days  ago  I  had  the  pleasure  to  receive  your 
favor  of  the  5th.  ulto;  your  other  letter  of  the  26th.  of  Deer. 
came  duly  to  hand,  and  should  not  have  remained  so  long 
unacknowledged  had  I  not  been  in  daily  expectation  of  accom- 
panying my  answer  with  a  remittance:  disappointment  fol- 
lowed disappointment,  but  my  expectation  being  kept  alive, 
I  delayed  writing  from  one  Post  day  to  another  until  now,  that  I 
am  assured  by  a  Mercht.  in  Alexandria  that  I  may  depend 
upon  a  Bill,  in  a  few  days,  upon  a  Mr.  Sylvanus  Dickinson  of 
the  City  of  Nw.  York,  for  Two  thousand  five  hundred  Dollars. 
As  it  is  probable  I  may  receive  it  before  the  next  weeks  Post, 
I  will  on  that  occasion  write  you  more  fully:  At  present  I  will 
only  add  the  sincere  good  wishes  and  best  respects  of  Mrs. 

^From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


Washington  to  yourself,  Mrs.  Clinton  and  family,  to  which 
with  much  truth,  mine  are  united. 

With  great  esteem,  etc, 

P.  S.  Since  writing  the  above,  I  have  reed,  the  enclos'd  Bill, 
the  second  shall  be  sent  by  next  Post,  when  I  shall  be  more 


Mount  Vernon,  April  6, 1785. 

Sir:  By  the  last  Post  Majr.  Jenifer  transmitted  me  an  Acct. 
of  my  Continental  Certificates  as  they  had  been  Audited  in 
your  Office;  by  which  there  is  a  difference  of  ^64.14.7%  short 
of  my  estimation  of  their  value. 

This  (for  I  did  not  go  into  the  examination  of  figures)  ap- 
pears to  have  originated  from  the  times  of  calculating  the  de- 
preciation. I  have  always  understood  that  depreciation  was 
the  same  thro'  the  month,  and  if  I  did  not  misapprehend  the 
Intendant,  his  ideas  of  it,  accorded  therewith. 

However,  I  only  ask  for  information,  and  because  I  had  cal- 
culated myself  in  this  manner,  for  I  want  no  other  measure 
than  what  is  given  to  others.  I  am  etc. 

PS.  How  does  yr.  subscriptions  to  the  Potomk.  Navigation 


Mount  Vernon,  April  10, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  Enclosed  you  have  my  answer  to  the  Acts  of  your 
Corporation,  which  I  pray  you  to  present.  I  thank  you  for  the 
Arguments  and  judgment  of  the  Mayor's  Court  of  the  City  of 

"  From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

45  Auditor,  in  the  Intendant's  office,  of  the  State  of  Maryland. 

"From  a  photograph  of  the  original  in  the  State  House,  Annapolis,  Md. 


New  York  in  the  Cause  betwn.  Elizabeth  Rutgars  and  Joshua 
Waddington,47 1  have  read  them  with  all  the  attention  I  could 
give  the  subject,  and  though  I  pretend  not  to  be  a  competent 
judge  of  the  Law  of  Nations,  or  the  principle  and  policy  of  the 
Statute  upon  which  the  Action  was  founded;  yet,  I  must  con- 
fess, that  reason  seems  very  much  in  favor  of  the  opinion  given 
by  the  Court,  and  my  judgment  yields  a  hearty  assent  to  it. 

It  is  painful,  to  hear  that  a  State  which  used  to  be  the  fore- 
most in  Acts  of  liberality,  and  its  exertion  to  establish  our 
fcederal  system  upon  a  broad  bottom  and  solid  ground  is  con- 
tracting her  ideas,  and  pointing  them  to  local  and  independent 
measures;  which,  if  persevered  in,  must  Sap  the  Constitution 
of  these  States  (already  too  weak),  destroy  our  National  char- 
acter, and  render  us  as  contemptable  in  the  eyes  of  Europe 
as  we  have  it  in  our  power  to  be  respectable.  It  should  seem  as 
if  the  Impost  of  5  pr  Ct.  would  never  take  place;  for  no  sooner 
does  an  obstinate  State  begin  to  relent,  and  adopt  the  recom- 
mendations of  Congress,  but  some  other  runs  restive;  as  if 
there  was  a  combination  among  them,  to  defeat  the  measure. 

From  the  latest  European  Accts.  it  is  probable  an  accommo- 
dation will  take  place  between  the  Emperor48  and  the  Dutch, 
but  to  reverberate  News  to  a  man  at  the  source  of  intelligence 
would  be  idle,  therefore  Mum. 

The  Dutch  I  conceive  are  too  much  attached  to  their  pos- 
sessions and  their  wealth,  if  they  could  yield  to  the  pangs  of 
parting  with  their  Country,  to  adopt  the  plan  you  hinted  to 
Mr.  Van  Berckel.  The  Nations  of  Europe  are  ripe  for  Slavery; 
a  thirst  after  riches,  promptitude  to  luxury,  and  a  sinking  into 
venality  with  their  concomitants,  untune  them  for  manly  ex- 
ertions and  virtuous  Sacrifices. 

47  A  few  papers  concerning  the  case  of  Elizabeth  Rutgers  vs.  Joshua  Waddington  are 
in  the  Hamilton  Papers  (Legal),  1784,  in  the  Library  of  Congress. 
"Emperor  Joseph  II,  of  Austria. 

1785]  FREEDOM  OF  NEW  YORK  Y15 

I  do  not  know  from  whence  the  report  of  my  coming  to 
Trenton  could  have  originated,  unless  from  a  probability  of 
my  accompanying  the  Marquis  de  la  Fayette  as  far  as  New 
York  should  have  caus'd  it;  he  pressed  me  to  the  measure,  but 
the  season  was  too  much  opposed  to  it,  to  obtain  my  consent. 

Mrs.  Washington  and  myself,  entertain  a  grateful  sense 
of  the  kind  recollection  of  us  by  you,  Mrs.  and  Miss  Duane,  and 
the  other  branches  of  your  family,  and  beg  leave  to  present  our 
Compliments  to,  and  best  wishes  for,  them  all. 

With  very  great  esteem,  &c. 

P.  S.  If  our  Rocky-hill  acquaintance,  Mrs.  Vanhorne,  has 
removed  (as  she  talked  of  doing)  to  the  City  of  New 
York  I  pray  you  to  recall  me,  in  respectful  terms,  to  her 
remembrance.  [  n.  y.  h.  s.  ] 


Mount  Vernon,  April  10, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  A  few  days  since  by  Doctr.  Lee,49 1  had  the  honor 
to  receive  your  favors  of  the  16th.  of  December  from  Trenton, 
and  10th.  of  March  from  the  City  of  New  York.  The  former 
enclosing  an  Address  of  the  City,  and  the  freedom  thereof  in 
a  very  handsome  golden  Box. 

For  the  flattering  expression  of  the  Address,  and  the  honor 
which  is  confered  on  me  by  the  freedom  of  the  City,  I  enter- 
tain a  grateful  sense.  I  wish  my  powers  were  equal  to  my 
feelings,  that  I  might  express  the  latter  in  more  lively  terms 
than  are  contained  in  the  enclosed  answer. 

Let  me  beseech  you,  Sir,  at  the  moment  you  shall  have  laid 
it  before  your  Worshipful  Board,  to  add  the  strongest  assur- 
ances of  the  respect  and  attachment  with  which  I  have  the 
honor  to  be,  their,  and  your,  Most  Obedt.  etc.  [n.y.h.s.] 

49  Arthur  Lee. 



[April  10, 1785] 
Gentlemen:  I  receive  your  Address,50  and  the  freedom  of 
the  City  with  which  you  have  been  pleased  to  present  me  in  a 
golden  Box,57  with  the  sensibility  and  gratitude  which  such  dis- 
tinguished honors  have  a  claim  to.  The  flattering  expression 
of  both,  stamps  value  on  the  acts;  and  call  for  stronger  lan- 
guage than  I  am  master  of,  to  convey  my  sense  of  the  obligation 
in  adequate  terms. 

To  have  had  the  good  fortune  amidst  the  viscissitudes  of  a 
long  and  arduous  contest  "never  to  have  known  a  moment 
when  I  did  not  possess  the  confidence  and  esteem  of  my  Coun- 
try." And  that  my  conduct  should  have  met  the  approbation, 
and  obtained  the  affectionate  regard  of  the  State  of  New  York 
(where  difficulties  were  numerous  and  complicated)  may  be 
ascribed  more  to  the  effect  of  divine  wisdom,  which  has  dis- 
posed the  minds  of  the  people,  harrassed  on  all  sides,  to  make 
allowances  for  the  embarrassments  of  my  situation,  whilst  with 
fortitude  and  patience  they  sustained  the  loss  of  their  Capitol, 
and  a  valuable  part  of  their  territory,  and  to  the  liberal  senti- 
ments, and  great  exertion  of  her  virtuous  Citizens,  than  to  any 
merit  of  mine. 

The  reflection  of  these  things  now,  after  the  many  hours  of 
anxious  sollicitude  which  all  of  us  have  had,  is  as  pleasing,  as 
our  embarrassments  at  the  moments  we  encountered  them, 
were  distressing,  and  must  console  us  for  past  sufferings  and 

roIn  the  Washington  Papers,  Dec.  2,  1784,  as  is  also  the  parchment  Freedom  of  the 
City  of  New  York. 

61  The  gold  box  was  disposed  of  at  the  sales  made  to  members  of  the  Washington 
family  at  Mount  Vernon  in  1802,  shortly  after  the  death  of  Mrs.  Washington.  Its 
present  whereabouts  is  unknown  to  the  editor. 

1785]  DISMAL  SWAMP   COMPANY  127 

I  pray  that  Heaven  may  bestow  its  choicest  blessings  on  your 
City.  That  the  devastations  of  War,  in  which  you  found  it, 
may  soon  be  without  a  trace.  That  a  well  regulated  and  beni- 
flcial  Commerce  may  enrichen  your  Citizens.  And  that,  your 
State  (at  present  the  Seat  of  the  Empire)  may  set  such  exam- 
ples of  wisdom  and  liberality,  as  shall  have  a  tendency  to 
strengthen  and  give  permanency  to  the  Union  at  home,  and 
credit  and  respectability  to  it  abroad.  The  accomplishment 
whereof  is  a  remaining  wish,  and  the  primary  object  of  all  my 
desires.52  [n.y.h.s.] 


Mount  Vernon,  April  10, 1785. 

Dear  Sir :  At  the  request  of  the  Gentlemen  who  met  in  Rich- 
mond the  day  you  parted  with  us,  I  have  requested  a  meeting 
of  the  Proprietors  of  the  Dismal  Swamp  in  Richmond  on 
Monday  the  2d.  day  of  May  next,  at  which  time  and  place  I 
should  be  glad  to  see  you  as  it  is  indispensably  necessary  to  put 
the  affairs  of  the  Company  under  some  better  management.  I 
hope  every  member  will  bring  with  him  such  papers  as  he  is 
possessed  of  respecting  this  business. 

I  wrote  you  a  line  similar  to  this,  to  go  from  Richmond;  but 
Mr.  Carter  informing  me  that  he  is  about  to  send  a  Servant 
into  your  neighbourhood  I  embrace  the  oppertunity  as  more 
certain  to  give  you  this  information.  I  am  etc.53 

62  This  letter  came  into  the  possession  of  one  John  Allen  in  the  1830's  and  was  sold 
at  auction  in  New  York  City  in  1864.  It  was  purchased  by  DeWitt  C.  Lent  for  $2,050. 
The  mayor  and  aldermen  sued  for  its  recovery  and  secured  possession.  It  passed  into 
the  custody  of  the  New  York  Historical  Society  by  gift  from  the  city  in  1873.  The 
A.  Df.  S.  is  in  the  Library  of  Congress.  The  suit  is  reported  in  5/  N.  Y.  Supreme  Court 
Reports,  January,  1868,  p.  19. 

m  From  a  photostat  of  the  original  kindly  furnished  by  Dr.  William  C.  Rives,  of 
Washington,  D.  C. 

On  April  10  Washington  also  forwarded  a  certificate  of  service  to  Frederick  Weis- 
senfels,  with  a  brief  note.  Copies  of  both  the  note  and  certificate  are  in  the  "Letter 
Book  "  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  April  n,  1785. 

Sir:  Not  having  heard  a  tittle  from  you  since  I  left  Mr.  Simp- 
sons in  Septr.  last;  I  wish  for  the  detail  of  your  proceedings 
in  my  business  since  that  period,  particularly  with  respect 
to  applications,  if  any,  for  my  Lands  in  your  neighbourhood 
or  elsewhere,  and  what  has  been  done  with  the  mill.  I  have 
obtained,  some  time  since,  a  Patent  for  the  round  bottom  above 
Captenon,54  which  may  be  rented  upon  the  terms  of  my  printed 

Mr.  Smith  (especially  as  he  lives  at  a  distance,  and  is  only  in 
the  county  at  the  assizes)  should  have  every  assistance  in  hunt- 
ing up  the  evidence  necessary  for  the  prosecution  of  my  eject- 
ments in  the  Court  of  Washington,55  particularly  as  they  respect 
the  improvements  in  my  behalf,  intecedent  to  the  possession 
of  the  Land  by  the  present  occupants;  and  the  notice  given 
them  of  its  being  mine,  at,  or  immediately  after  the  Settlements 
made  by  them.  Colo.  John  Stephenson,  Mr.  Marcs.  Stephenson 
and  Mr.  Danl.  Morgan  are,  I  shou'd  suppose,  most  likely  to  be 
acquainted  with  Colo.  Crawfords  proceedings  in  this  business. 
It  is  of  consequence  to  ascertain  all  the  improvements  which 
were  made  for  my  use  and  benefit  previous  to  the  settlements 
of  the  present  possessions.  Colo.  Crawford  in  a  letter  to  me 
says,  he  built  four  houses  on  different  parts  of  the  Land;  or 
made  four  improvements  of  some  kind :  if  this  can  be  proved 
it  would  defeat  my  opponents  upon  their  own  ground. 

I  should  be  glad  to  hear  frequently  from  you.  Letters  lodged 
in  the  post  office  at  Baltimore  or  Alexa.,  will  not  fail  of  getting 
safe  to  my  hands.  I  am,  etc.58 

"Captening  Creek. 

M  Washington  County,  Pa. 

66 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  A  NEW  MILLER  129 


Mount  Vernon,  April  12, 1785. 

Gentn:  I  have  received  two  letters  from  you,  one  of  the  8th. 
of  March,  the  other  of  the  5th.  inst :  and  thank  you  for  both. 

I  acquiesce  readily  to  the  conditional  terms  you  have  made 
on  my  behalf  with  Joseph  Davenport:  his  wages  are  as  high  as 
the  best  Mills  in  this  Country  afTord,  and  the  priviledges  for 
which  he  stipulates  shall  be  granted  him;  with  this  addition, 
that  his  fire  wood  shall  be  carted  to  his  door  at  my  expence,  and 
he  may  raise  poultry  for  his  own  eating  at  my  cost;  but  under 
no  pretence  whatever  to  sell  any. 

I  wish  the  charge  of  removing  him  might  be  stipulated  and 
made  as  reasonable  as  possible;  otherwise  the  addition  of  it  to 
wages  and  priviledges  for  a  year  only,  will  make  him  come 
high  to  me :  for  this  reason  if  you  entirely  approve  of  him  as  a 
miller  and  man  of  character,  I  had  rather  the  agreement  should 
be  for  two  years  than  one,  if  he  is  disposed  to  engage  for  that 
term.  At  present  my  Mill  has  the  reputation  of  turning  out 
superfine  flour  of  the  first  quality:  it  commands  a  higher  price 
in  this  country  and  the  West  Indies,  than  any  other,  and  I 
should  be  unwilling  it  should  lose  this  character  from  igno- 
rance or  bad  conduct. 

Roberts  (my  present  Miller)  for  skill  in  grinding,  and  keep- 
ing a  Mill  in  order,  is  inferior  to  no  man:  owing  to  this,  to  the 
times,  and  to  the  aversion  I  have  to  frequent  changing  of  peo- 
ple, I  have  submitted  for  more  than  seven  years  to  his  imposi- 
tions: he  is  also  a  good  Cooper  and  millwright,  he  has  lived 
with  me  near  fifteen  years,  during  which  period  I  have  not 
paid  a  shilling  for  repairs.  He  came  to  me  with  a  full  grown 
apprentice;  for  both  I  only  paid  ^80  Pensa.  Cury.  per  Ann: 
but  during  my  absence  he  has  been  encreasing  his  wages  and 


priviledges  in  proportion  as  he  faltered  in  his  services;  so  that 
I  had  determined  (now  that  I  could  look  a  little  into  my  own 
business,  even  if  there  had  been  an  entire  reformation  in  his 
conduct)  to  have  reduced  his  wages  and  priviledges,  or  parted 
with  him,  to  the  very  standard  of  your  letter;  which  I  believe  is 
as  high  as  the  best,  and  most  extensive  manufacturing  Mills  in 
this  State,  afford.  Mine  is  but  a  poor  stream,  wanting  water 
near  half  the  year:  for  this  reason  if  Davenport  (being  a 
cooper)  is  to  work  at  this  business  (there  being  a  very  good 
shop  within  fifty  yards  of  the  dwelling  house  and  Mill)  when 
he  is  not  engaged  in  grinding,  packing  &c,  I  wish  it  to  be  speci- 
fied. In  short,  whatever  is  expected  of  either,  by  the  other 
party,  I  pray  may  be  explicitly  declared,  to  avoid  all  desputes, 
misconceptions,  after  claims  and  uneasinesses.  You  know  full 
well  what  ought  to  be  expected  from  Davenport;  and  whatever 
you  engage  on  my  behalf,  shall  be  religiously  fulfilled. 

As  you  must  have  incurred  expence  on  my  accot.  in  this  busi- 
ness, I  am  ready  and  willing  to  discharge  it,  with  many  thanks 
for  the  trouble  you  have  been  at  to  serve  me;  and  if  it  should 
ever  be  in  my  power  to  render  you  any  return,  I  should  be 
happy  in  doing  it.  I  am,  etc.57 


Mount  Vernon,  April  12,  1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  The  post  before  last  brought  me  your  favor  of  the 
31st.  The  next  day  I  waited  upon  Colo.  Hooe  with  your  order, 
but  he  was  confined  to  his  bed  and  unable  to  do  business.  Two 
days  after  he  sent  me  a  bill  on  New  York  for  2,500  Dollars, 
payable  at  15  days  sight,  and  gave  me  assurances  that  he  would 
pay  the  balance  shortly.  In  consequence,  you  have  my  receipt 

6  From  the  "  Letter  Book  "  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


for  ;£  1069.1.7  specie,  at  the  foot  of  the  enclosed  list.  I  have 
passed  my  receipt  for  a  specie  payment  because  you  desired  it; 
in  full  confidence  however,  that  if  the  Bill  should  not  be  duly 
honored,  or  that  I  should  meet  with  delay  or  difficulty  in  re- 
ceiving the  money  at  Nw.  York,  or  the  balance;  that  it  will  be 
null,  or  have  proper  attention  paid  to  the  circumstances;  for 
otherwise  the  interest  of  this  money  which  was  intended  to  pay 
a  debt  in  Nw.  York  will  cease,  when  a  higher  interest  there 
will  be  accumulating  that  debt. 

I  had  taken  up  an  idea,  that  depreciation  was  the  same  thro' 
the  month,  and  had  calculated  my  demand  accordingly:  Mr. 
Richmond  varies  the  depreciation  every  day,  by  which  his  acct. 
and  mine  differ  ^64-14-7-1/8.  I  suppose  he  is  right,  and  that 
I  must  submit  to  the  disappointment. 

I  am  exceedingly  obliged  to  you  for  your  ready  and  pointed 
attention  to  this  business.  Mrs.  Washington  and  Fanny  Bas- 
sett  present  their  compliments  to  you,  and  I  pray  you  to  be  as- 
sured of  the  sincere  esteem  and  regard  with  which  I  am,  etc.58 


Mount  Vernon,  April  12,  1785. 

Dear  Brother :  The  enclosed  is  the  last  letter  I  have  had  from 
your  Son  George,59  why  it  is  so,  I  cannot  readily  Acct.,  except 
for  the  irregularity  of  the  Post  Office,  which  seems  to  be  under 
very  bad  management.  Another  letter  of  his,  of  the  [muti- 
lated] to  a  young  Lady  of  this  family  [mutilated]  reason  to 
look  for  him  here  the  latter  end  of  this,  or  beginning  of  next 

I  lend  our  Nephew  Geo:  Steptoe  Washington  a  horse  Sad- 
dle and  Bridle  to  visit  his  Mother,  of  which  he  seems  desirous, 

58 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
69  George  Augustine  Washington. 


it  would  be  well  for  you  to  have  attention  to  his  return  in  time. 
Mr.  Balch,  Master  of  the  Academy  at  which  he  is,  speaks  of 
him  in  favorable  terms. 

Immediately  upon  receipt  of  the  money  I  informed  Mr. 
Balch  that  I  was  ready  to  discharge  any  Expences  which  had 
been  incurred  on  Acct.  of  the  Boys;  the  enclosed  letter  from 
him  is  the  only  answer  I  have  got  to  it.  As  they  have  been 
there  near  Eight  Months  the  Sum  you  sent  me  will  not,  I  ex- 
pect, discharge  what  may  be  due  for  Schooling,  Board  and 
Clothing;  I  therefore  wish  to  have  more  sent  me  as  my  own 
expenditures  are  too  great  to  allow  me  to  be  in  advance  for 
them.  I  have  desired  Mr.  Balch  to  receive  the  Boys  into  his 
own  family  again  as  soon  as  his  house  is  in  order  for  it.  Mrs. 
Washington  joins  in  love  to  my  Sister  and  yr.  family.  And  I 
am  etc. 

How  does  yr.  Subscriptions  to  the  Potomk.  Navigation 
goon?  [H.L.] 


Mount  Vernon,  April  12, 1785. 

My  dear  Marqs.  Your  letter  of  the  15th.  of  Septr.  last  year,60 
introductory  of  Mr.  Duche,  I  had  die  honor  to  receive  a  few 
days  since. 

However  great  that  Gentleman's  merits  are,  and  however 
much  I  might  be  inclined  to  serve  him,  candor  required  me  to 
tell  him,  as  I  now  do  you,  that  there  is  no  opening  (within  my 
view)  by  which  he  could  enter,  and  succeed  in  the  line  of  his 
profession,  in  this  Country. 

Besides  being  a  stranger,  and  unacquainted  with  the  lan- 
guage of  these  States,  perfectly,  many  of  them,  to  prevent  an 

00  Not  now  found  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  A  PAYMENT  MADE  133 

inundation  of  British  Attorneys  of  which  they  were  apprehen- 
sive, and  of  whose  political  principles  they  entertained  not  the 
most  favorable  sentiments;  have  passed  qualifying  Acts,  by 
which  residence  and  study  in  them  for  a  specific  time,  is  made 
essential  to  entitle  a  Lawyer  to  become  a  practitioner  in  our 
Courts  of  justice. 

Therefore,  should  Mr.  Duche  incline,  notwithstanding,  to 
settle,  altogether,  or  spend  any  considerable  portion  of  his  time 
in  this  Country,  his  friends  cannot  serve  him  better  than  by 
obtaining  for  him  some  appointment  in  the  Consular  depart- 
ments; for  the  discharge  of  which,  I  presume  he  must  be  well 

With  great  attachment  and  the  most  affectionate  regard  I 
am  etc.81 


Mount  Vernon,  April  20, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  I  promised  you  a  letter  by  the  last  Post,  but  it  was 
not  in  my  power  to  fulfill  it;  business  not  my  own,  and  with 
which  I  really  ought  not  to  be  troubled,  engrosses  so  large  a 
portion  of  my  time  (having  no  assistance)  that  which  is  essen- 
tial to  me,  is  entirely  neglected. 

I  now  send  you  Hooe  and  Harrisons  second  Bill  upon  Mr. 
Sylvanus  Dickenson;  altho'  I  hope,  and  expect  the  first  will 
have  been  paid  before  it  reaches.  I  also  send  you  a  statement 
of  the  payments,62  as  they  ought  to  have  been  made  to  you, 
and  should  be  obliged  to  you  for  comparing  them  with  your 
own  receipts,  and  for  informing  me  of  their  correspondence. 
The  money  now  remitted  I  wish  to  have  placed  to  the  credit 

81  From  a  photostat  of  the  original  kindly  furnished  by  the  Hon.  Sol  Bloom,  of  New 
York  City. 

62  A  photostat  of  this  statement  is  in  the  Washington  Papers.  The  original  is  in  the 
Huntington  Library. 


of  my  Bond,  and  the  balance,  if  any,  carried  to  that  of  the 
accot.  sent  me  in  December  last.  I  should  be  glad  also  to  have 
as  early  and  long  notice  of  the  call  for  this  last  sum,  as  can 
knowingly  and  conveniently  be  given;  for  I  find  it  (under 
my  present  circumstances)  very  difficult  to  raise  money  equal 
to  the  pressure  of  my  wants;  those  who  owed  me  before  the 
commencement  of  hostilities,  having  taken  advantage  of  my 
absence  and  the  tender  laws,  to  discharge  their  debts  with  a 
shilling  or  six  pence  in  the  pound :  and  those  to  whom  I  owed 
money,  I  have  now  to  pay  in  specie  at  the  real  value. 

I  have  to  thank  you  my  dear  Sir,  for  the  duplicate  Deed, 
and  plan  of  our  purchase  in  the  Ochriskeney  Patent;  and  pray 
you  to  take  the  trouble  of  doing  with  my  moiety  the  same  as  you 
would  do  with  your  own  at  all  times  and  in  all  respects. 

The  lime  trees  which  you  were  so  obliging  as  to  send  me 
last  November  were  unfortunate;  they  lay  at  Norfolk  until 
the  frosts  were  entirely  over,  and  only  came  to  my  hands  the 
18th.  of  Feby.  I  immediately  planted,  and  have  since  been 
nursing  them;  they  have  yet  the  appearance  of  feeble  life,  but 
I  have  no  expectation  of  their  living.  My  thanks  nevertheless 
are  equally  due  for  these,  for  the  nutts,  the  corn  and  the  pease; 
the  last  of  which  I  sowed  yesterday :  if  I  am  too  late  in  doing 
it,  the  Spring  (which  has  been  the  most  unfavourable  I  ever 
knew),  and  not  me,  is  to  blame;  if  too  early,  it  is  from  igno- 
rance and  my  neglect  in  not  making  the  necessary  enquiry  for 
the  proper  season.  The  corn  I  shall  begin  to  plant  in  a  few 
days  and  will  renew  the  seeds  occasionally. 

I  will  rely  upon  your  Excely.  for  the  seeds  of  the  Balm  tree, 
White  and  Spruce  Pine.  I  believe  it  is  the  most  certain  way 
of  raising  them:  most  of  the  trees  evergreen,  not  sowed  where 
they  are  to  stand,  or  not  raised  in  Nurseries  and  early  trans- 
planted, are  unsuccessful;  and  tho'  our  impatience  will  not 



suffer  us  to  adopt  the  practice,  it  is  the  opinion  of  Miller  (in  his 
Gardeners  Dy.)  who  seems  to  understand  the  culture  of  Trees 
equal  to  any  other  writer  I  have  met  with,  that  it  is  the  most 
expeditious  method  of  rearing  them.  As  a  quantity  of  these 
seeds  would  be  bulky  in  the  Cones,  they  would  be  equally  good 
taken  out  and  packed  in  dry  sand;  and  is  the  method  I  would 
beg  leave  to  recommend.  To  them  I  should  be  glad  to  have 
added  some  of  the  Hemlock,  and  indeed  any  other  seeds  of 
trees  which  are  not  common  in  this  climate.  I  shall  make 
no  apology  for  the  trouble  I  know  this  request  must  give  you, 
because  I  persuade  myself  you  will  have  pleasure  in  contribut- 
ing to  an  innocent  amusement.  I  have  planted  within  these 
few  days  many  of  the  hickory  nuts  which  you  sent  me,  not 
doubting  their  successful  growth  here.  Mrs.  Washington  de- 
sires me  to  present  her  compliments  and  thanks  to  you,  for 
your  care  of  the  case  of  Grotto  work,  it  came  very  safe.  She 
also  joins  me  very  sincerely  in  congratulating  Mrs.  Clinton 
and  yourself  on  her  restoration  to  health,  and  in  wishing  it 
may  be  of  long  continuance. 

I  am  sorry  for  the  loss  of  my  Vines,  they  were  of  the  first 
quality  in  France;  and  sent  to  me  by  one  of  the  first  char- 
acters in  it,  for  abilities,  respectability  and  his  curious  attention 
to  these  things.  I  was  in  hopes  there  had  been  an  abundance, 
and  that  you  would  have  participated  in  the  fruit  of  them. 

As  you  are  at  the  source  of  intelligence,  it  would  be  idle  in 
me  to  reverberate  what  is  brought  by  the  packets,  and  we  have 
little  of  a  domestic  nature  worthy  of  attention.  There  are 
plans  in  agitation  for  improving  and  extending  the  inland 
navigation  of  this  country;  and  opening  roads  of  communica- 
tion between  the  heads  of  the  rivers  Potomac  and  James,  and 
the  western  waters.  They  have  received  public  countenance 
and  support,  but  I  cannot  at  this  moment  speak  decisively  to 


the  issue,  we  flatter  ourselves  it  will  be  favourable,  but  may  be 
mistaken.  Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  very  best  wishes  for 
you  and  all  your  family.  With  regard  and  attachment,  I 
am,  etc.63 


Mount  Vernon,  April  20, 1785. 
Sir :  I  have  received  your  letter  of  the  30th.  Ulto.  If  it  should 
ever  be  in  my  power  to  render  you  any  Service,  I  should  be 
ready,  and  happy  to  do  it.  With  the  Gentlemen  of  my  ac- 
quaintance in  Philadelphia,  I  persuade  myself  you  stand  as 
well,  as  my  introduction  could  place  you.  If  there  are  any 
here,  to  whom  the  mention  of  your  case  would  be  of  any  avail, 
I  should  have  pleasure  in  doing  it.  I  thank  you  for  your  kind 
offer  of  forwarding,  with  safety,  the  Gazettes  of  Philadelphia; 
but  believe  there  will  be  no  occasion  for  giving  you  the  trouble 
at  present.  I  am  etc.64 


Mount  Vernon,  April  25,  1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  I  will  not  let  your  favor  of  the  fifteenth,  for  which 
I  thank  you,  go  unacknowledged,  tho'  it  is  not  in  my  power  to 
give  it  the  consideration  I  wish,  to  comply  with  the  request 
you  have  made,  being  upon  the  eve  of  a  journey  to  Richmond 
to  a  meeting  of  the  Dismal  Swamp  company,  which  by  my 
own  appointment  is  to  take  place  on  Monday  next;  and  into 
that  part  of  the  country  I  am  hurried  by  an  express  which  is 

63 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

64  From  a  facsimile  of  the  original  in  the  possession  of  Edward  Carey  Gardiner,  pub- 
lished in  "One  Hundred  and  Fifty  Years  of  Publishing,  1785-1935,"  kindly  furnished 
by  Lea  &  Febiger,  of  Philadelphia. 

65  Delegate  to  the  Continental  Congress  from  Virginia. 

1785]  SALE  OF   WESTERN  LANDS  137 

just  arrived  with  the  accot.  of  the  deaths  of  the  mother  and 
Brother  of  Mrs.  Washington,  in  the  last  of  whose  hands  (Mr. 
B.  Dandridge)  the  embarrassed  affairs  of  Mr.  Custis  had  been 
placed,  and  call  for  immediate  attention. 

To  be  candid,  I  have  had  scarce  time  to  give  the  report  of  the 
Committee,66  which  you  did  me  the  honor  to  send  me,  a  read- 
ing, much  less  to  consider  the  force  and  tendency  of  it.  If 
experience  has  proven  that  the  most  advantageous  way  of  dis- 
posing of  Land,  is  by  whole  Townships,  there  is  no  arguing 
against  facts;  therefore,  if  I  had  had  time  I  shou'd  have  said 
nothing  on  that  head:  but  from  the  cursory  reading  I  have 
given  it,  it  strikes  me  that  by  suffering  each  State  to  dispose 
of  a  proportionate  part  of  the  whole  in  the  State,  that  there 
may  be  State  jobbing:  in  other  words  that  the  Citizens  of  each 
State  may  be  favored  at  the  expence  of  the  Union;  whilst  a 
reference  of  these  matters  to  them  has,  in  my  opinion,  a  tend- 
ency to  set  up  seperate  interests;  and  to  promote  the  independ- 
ence of  individual  States  upon  the  downfall  of  the  federal 
government,  which  in  my  opinion  is  already  too  feeble,  much 
too  humiliated  and  tottering  to  be  supported  without  props. 

It  is  scarcely  to  be  imagined  that  any  man,  or  society  of  men, 
who  may  incline  to  possess  a  township,  would  make  the  pur- 
chase without  viewing  the  Land  in  person  or  by  an  Agent. 
Wherein  then  lies  the  great  advantage  of  having  the  sale  in 
each  State,  and  by  State  officers  ?  for  from  the  same  parity  of 
reasoning,  there  should  be  different  places  in  each  State  for  the 
accommodation  of  its  Citizens.  Would  not  all  the  ostensible 
purposes  be  fully  answered  by  sufficient  promulgation  in  each 
State,  of  the  time  and  place  of  Sale  to  be  holden  at  the  nearest 
convenient  place  to  the  Land,  or  at  the  seat  of  Congress.  Is  it 
not  highly  probable  that  those  who  may  incline  to  emigrate, 

68  Of  Congress. 


or  their  Agents  would  attend  at  such  time  and  place?  And 
(there  being  no  fixed  prices  to  the  Land)  would  not  be  the 
high  or  low  sale  of  it  depend  upon  the  number  of  purchasers 
and  the  competition  occasioned  thereby;  and  are  not  these 
more  likely  to  be  greater  at  one  time  and  place  than  at  thir- 
teen ?  One  place  might  draw  the  world  to  it,  if  proper  notice 
be  given :  but  foreigners  would  scarcely  know  what  to  do  with 
thirteen,  to  which,  or  when  to  go  to  them.  These  are  first 
thoughts,  perhaps  incongruous  ones,  and  such  as  I  myself 
might  reprobate  upon  more  mature  consideration :  at  present 
however,  I  am  impressed  with  them,  and  (under  the  rose)  a 
penetrating  eye,  and  close  observation,  will  discover  thro'  vari- 
ous disguises  a  disinclination  to  add  new  States  to  the  con- 
federation, westward  of  us;  which  must  be  the  inevitable 
consequence  of  emigration  to,  and  the  population  of  that  terri- 
tory: and  as  to  restraining  the  citizens  of  the  Atlantic  States 
from  transplanting  themselves  to  that  soil,  when  prompted 
thereto  by  interest  or  inclination,  you  might  as  well  attempt 
(while  our  Governmts.  are  free)  to  prevent  the  reflux  of  the 
tide,  when  you  had  got  it  into  your  rivers. 

As  the  report  of  the  Committee  goes  into  the  minutia,  it  is 
not  minute  enough,  if  I  read  it  a  right;  it  provides  for  the 
irregular  lines,  and  parts  of  townships,  occasioned  by  the  in- 
terference with  the  Indian  boundaries,  but  not  for  its  inter- 
ference with  Lake  Erie,  the  western  boundary  of  Pennsylvania 
(if  it  is  governed  by  the  meanders  of  the  Delaware)  or  the 
Ohio  river  which  separates  the  ceded  Lands  from  Virginia,  all 
of  which  involve  the  same  consequences. 

I  thank  you  for  the  sentiments  and  information,  given  me  in 
your  letter  of  the  ioth.  of  March,  respecting  the  Potomac  navi- 
gation. My  present  determination  is,  to  hold  the  shares  which 
this  State  has  been  pleased  to  present  me,  in  trust  for  the  use 

1785]  A  REQUEST  DECLINED  139 

and  benefit  of  it:  this  will  subserve  the  plan,  encrease  the  public 
revenue,  and  not  interfere  with  the  line  of  conduct  I  had  pre- 
scribed myself.  I  am,  etc.67 


Mount  Vernon,  May  12,  1785. 

Sir:  The  letter  which  you  did  me  the  honor  to  write  to  me 
the  20th.  of  last  month,  I  found  at  this  place  when  I  returned 
from  Richmond  a  few  days  ago;  but  it  had  been  previously 
lost  in  the  high  way,  and  came  to  me  open,  and  without  a 
cover:  by  what  means  it  met  with  this  accident,  I  am  unable 
to  learn,  a  neighbour  of  mine  picked  it  up  in  the  condition  I 
have  mentioned,  and  sent  it  to  me. 

I  pray  you  to  be  assured  Sir,  that  I  should  have  great  pleasure 
in  presenting  you  with  a  letter  to  the  Count  de  Vergennes  if 
I  cou'd  suppose  that  my  recommendation  would  have  any 
weight  at  the  Court  of  Versailles,  and  if  I  had  ever  opened  a 
correspondence  with  the  Minister  thereof  on  a  subject  of  this 
nature:  but  not  having  the  vanity  to  suppose  the  first,  and 
never  having  attempted  the  latter;  I  persuade  myself  I  shall 
meet  a  ready  excuse  for  not  complying  with  your  request  in 
this  instance. 

Not  being  under  such  delicate  circumstances  with  my  inti- 
mate acquaintance  and  friend  the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette,  I  have 
communicated  your  wishes  to  him;  and  as  no  language  can  do 
it  more  emphatically  than  your  own,  I  have  taken  the  liberty  of 
enclosing  your  letter  to  me,  to  him.  I  have  the  honor,  etc.67 

6TFrom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

On  April  29  Washington  left  Mount  Vernon  for  Richmond,  Va.,  which  he  reached 
on  the  evening  of  May  1.  He  left  Richmond  May  4,  and  arrived  at  Mount  Vernon, 
May  6. 




Mount  Vernon,  May  12, 1785. 
My  Dr.  Marqs.  The  enclosed  letter  from  the  Chevr.  de  la 
Serre  conveys  a  strong  expression  of  his  wishes;  and  as  you 
are  well  acquainted  with  his  merits,  his  connexions,  and  his 
intention  of  remaining  in  America,  I  persuade  myself  it  is 
unnecessary  for  me  to  add  more  to  recommend  him  to  your 
favourable  notice  in  the  line  he  wishes,  and  which  he  finds 
most  convenient  for  himself  to  walk  in,  if  the  present  Consul 
of  France,  at  Baltimore  can  be  better  provided  for.  I  therefore 
submit  his  case  and  pretensions  to  that  spirit  which  I  know  is 
ever  ready  to  promote  the  happiness  of  others.  It  is  unneces- 
sary to  repeat  the  assurances  of  my  affection  and  regard  for 
you.  You  know  they  cannot  be  encreased,  and  will  never 
diminish.  Adieu  Yrs.  &ca.69 


Mount  Vernon,  May  16, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  In  for  a  penny,  in  for  a  pound  is  an  old  adage.  I 
am  so  hackneyed  to  the  touches  of  the  Painters  pencil,  that  I  am 
now  altogether  at  their  beck,  and  sit  like  patience  on  a  Monu- 
ment whilst  they  are  delineating  the  lines  of  my  face. 

It  is  a  proof  among  many  others  of  what  habit  and  custom 
can  effect.  At  first  I  was  as  impatient  at  the  request,  and  as 
restive  under  the  operation,  as  a  Colt  is  of  the  Saddle.  The 
next  time,  I  submitted  very  reluctantly,  but  with  less  flouncing. 
Now,  no  dray  moves  more  readily  to  the  Thill,  than  I  do  to 
the  Painters  Chair.   It  may  easily  be  conceived  therefore  that 

69 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  A  BUSINESS  FAILURE  141 

I  yielded  a  ready  obedience  to  your  request,  and  to  the  views 
of  Mr.  Pine. 

Letters  from  England,70  recommendatory  of  this  Gentleman, 
came  to  my  hands  previous  to  his  arrival  in  America;  not  only 
as  an  Artist  of  acknowledged  eminance,  but  as  one  who  had 
discovered  a  friendly  disposition  towards  this  Country,  for 
which,  it  seems,  he  had  been  marked. 

It  gave  me  pleasure  to  hear  from  you.  I  shall  always  feel 
an  interest  in  your  happiness,  and  with  Mrs.  Washingtons 
compliments,  and  best  wishes  joined  to  my  own,  for  Mrs.  Hop- 
kinson  and  yourself,  I  am  etc.71 


Mount  Vernon,  May  16, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  I  stand  indebted  to  you  for  your  several  favors  of 
the  7th.  of  March  and  12th.  and  19th.  of  April. 

Believe  me,  the  first  was  not  productive  of  more  surprize 
than  real  concern:  the  account  of  your  failure  was  as  much 
regretted,  as  it  was  unexpected  by  me,  and  I  feel  for  the  causes 
of  it,  and  for  your  present  situation.  You  are  sensible  that  my 
commissions  have  been  more  troublesome,  than  profitable  to 
you,  and  as  they  are  growing  less,  to  continue  them  might  add 
to  your  embarrassments,  otherwise  I  do  assure  you  I  would 
continue  them  with  pleasure. 

For  the  many  friendly  offices  you  have  rendered  me,  I  pray 
you  to  accept  my  thanks.  The  grass  seeds  are  all  at  hand,  tho' 

70 Washington's  "Diary"  states  that  these  letters  were  from  George  William  Fairfax, 
Gouverneur  Morris,  John  Dickinson,  Francis  Hopkinson,  and  others.  The  last  two, 
however,  were  not  in  England.  Washington  wrote  brief  acknowledgments  to  John 
Dickinson  (May  1 6)  and,  presumably,  to  the  others.  A  photostat  of  the  letter  to  Dick- 
inson is  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

"The  original,  from  a  photostat  of  which  this  letter  is  taken,  is  stated  to  be  in  the 
New  York  Historical  Society.  A  similar  claim  is  made  by  the  Wyoming  Historical  and 
Geological  Society  of  Wilkes-Barre,  Pa.  This  letter  has  been  facsimiled  many  times 
and  the  different  facsimiles  are  fairly  numerous. 


late  coming.  Mr.  Lewis  has  engaged  me  a  Miller :  the  method 
you  have  taken  to  get  the  accot.  concerning  the  Indian  meal 
and  flour  adjusted,  is  perfectly  agreeable  to  me;  and  I  approve 
of  what  you  have  done  respecting  my  letter  to  Mr.  Lamont, 
the  author  of  the  Poems  which  were  proposed  to  be  dedicated 
to  me.  I  have  never  received  a  paper  from  Messrs.  Claypoole 
and  Dunlap  since  your  mention  of  their  intention  to  forward 
them  regularly,  and  think  myself  so  ungenteelly  treated  in 
this  business,  by  them,  that  I  never  mean  to  take  another  of 
their  Gazettes.  If  they  had  really  sent  them,  I  can  conceive  no 
reason  why  they  should  not  have  got  to  hand  as  well  as  those 
from  Carey's,  and  others  from  Boston. 

The  balance  of  your  accot.  Currt.  ,£2.3.0^2, 1  have  given  to 
Genl.  Moylan,  who  will  pay  it  to  you,  or  your  assignees.  I 
have  done  the  same  with  respect  to  Claypooles  rect.  for  £3.15.0, 
cost  of  printing  my  advertisement.  If  you  have  not  already 
paid  his  accot.  for  the  Gazettes,  do  me  the  favor  and  justice  to 
let  him  know  (when  it  is  done)  that  I  am  paying  for  what  I 
have  not  had,  and  that  it  is  my  request  the  accot.  may  be  closed 
between  us;  as  I  do  not  mean,  unless  I  can  be  better  satisfied 
than  I  am  at  present,  to  stand  longer  upon  his  books. 

Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  every  good  wish  for  you,  Mrs. 
Biddle  and  family,  and  we  both  hope  that  fortune  may  be 
more  propitious  to  you  in  future.  If  it  should  ever  be  in  my 
way  to  render  you  any  services,  I  shou'd  have  pleasure  in  doing 

•  t  72 

it.  lam, etc. 


Mount  Vernon,  May  16, 1785. 
Sir:  I  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  letter  of  the  23d.  Ulto. 
by  Mr.  Pine,73  whose  character  as  a  historical  and  Portrait 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
"Robert  Edge  Pine. 


Painter,  and  as  a  friend  to  the  rights  of  America,  has  been  very 
favorably  represented  to  me  from  England  before  he  made 
his  appearance  in  this  Country.  His  present  design,74  if  well 
executed,  will  do  equal  credit  to  his  imagination  and  Pencil; 
and  be  interesting  to  America.   I  have  the  honor  etc.     [  h.  s.  p.  ] 


Mount  Vernon,  May  18, 1785. 
Sir :  Mr.  Pine  who  will  deliver  this  letter  to  your  Excellency, 
is  an  artist  of  acknowledged  eminence,  and  one  who  has  given 
the  world  many  pleasing  and  forcible  specimens  of  genius: 
he  is  engaged  in  painting  some  of  the  interesting  events  of 
the  late  war;  in  the  prosecution  of  which  he  finds  it  necessary 
to  call  at  Annapolis.  I  take  the  liberty  therefore  of  introducing 
him  to  your  civilities,  and  of  assuring  you  of  the  esteem  and 
respect  with  which  I  am,  etc.75 


Mount  Vernon,  May  19, 1785. 

Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  10th.  not  getting  to  my  hands  'till  the 
15th.,  I  had  no  opportunity  of  writing  to  you  before  the  meet- 
ing of  the  subscribers  on  the  17th.,  at  which  I  exhibited  the 
list  you  sent  me,  which  was  received  and  acted  upon. 

Agreeably  to  the  Laws  of  the  two  States,  the  subscription 
books  ought  to  have  been  at  that  meeting;  after  which  all  sub- 
scriptions are  to  be  made  with  the  President  and  Directors.76 
If  it  should  have  happened  therefore,  that  any  names  have 

"Pine's  project  was  to  paint  portraits  of  the  men  who  took  a  prominent  part  in  the 
Revolution  and  to  paint  the  principal  of  their  movements. 
75  On  May  1 8  practically  the  same  letter  was  sent  to  Edward  Lloyd,  of  Maryland. 
78  Of  the  Potomac  Company. 


been  entered  on  your  Books  subsequent,  and  in  addition  to  the 
list  you  sent  me;  it  would  be  proper  for  such  subscribers  to 
enter  their  names  as  the  Law  directs  in  the  Book  to  be  opened 
by  the  Directors,  in  order  to  give  validity  to  their  subscriptions 
and  to  prevent  disputes;  this,  I  presume,  may  be  done  by  letter. 
I  am,  etc.77 


Mount  Vernon,  May  20, 1785. 

My  dr.  Sir:  After  a  long  and  boisterous  passage,  my  Nephew 
G.  A.  Washington  returned  to  this  place  a  few  days  since  and 
delivered  me  your  letter  of  the  25th.  of  April. 

Under  the  state  of  the  case  between  you  and  Capt :  Gunn,78 
I  give  it  as  my  decided  opinion  that  your  honor  and  reputation 
will  not  only  stand  perfectly  acquitted  for  the  non-acceptance 
of  his  challenge,  but  that  your  prudence  and  judgment  would 
have  been  condemnable  for  accepting  of  it,  in  the  eyes  of  the 
world :  because  if  a  commanding  officer  is  amenable  to  private 
calls  for  the  discharge  of  public  duty,  he  has  a  dagger  always 
at  his  breast,  and  can  turn  neither  to  the  right  nor  to  the  left 
without  meeting  its  point;  in  a  word,  he  is  no  longer  a  free 
agent  in  office,  as  there  are  few  military  decisions  which  are 
not  offensive  to  one  party  or  the  other. 

However  just  Capt:  Gunns  claim  upon  the  public  might 
have  been,  the  mode  adopted  by  him  (according  to  your  accot.) 
to  obtain  it,  was  to  the  last  degree  dangerous.  A  precedent  of 
the  sort  once  established  in  the  army,  would  no  doubt  have  been 
followed;  and  in  that  case  would  unquestionably  have  pro- 
duced a  revolution;  but  of  a  very  different  kind  from  that 
which,  happily  for  America,  has  prevailed. 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
78  Capt.  James  Gunn,  of  the  First  Continental  Dragoons. 

1785]  VALUE  OF  BACK  LANDS  145 

It  gives  me  real  concern  to  find  by  your  letter,  that  you  are 
still  embarrassed  with  the  affairs  of  Banks :  I  should  be  glad  to 
hear,  that  the  evil  is  likely  to  be  temporary  only;  ultimately, 
that  you  will  not  suffer.  From  my  Nephews  account,  this  man 
has  participated  of  [sic]  the  qualities  of  Pandora's  box,  and  has 
spread  as  many  mischiefs.  How  came  so  many  to  be  taken 
in  by  him?  If  I  recollect  right,  when  I  had  the  pleasure  to 
see  you  last,  you  said  an  offer  had  been  made  you  of  back 
lands,  as  security  or  payment  in  part  for  your  demand.  I  then 
advised  you  to  accept  it.  I  now  repeat  it,  you  cannot  suffer  by 
doing  this,  altho'  the  lands  may  be  high  rated.  If  they  are 
good  I  would  almost  pledge  myself  that  you  will  gain  more 
in  ten  years  by  the  rise  in  the  price,  than  you  could  by  accumu- 
lation of  interest. 

The  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette  is  safe  arrived  in  France,  and 
found  his  Lady  and  family  well.  From  his  letters,  those  of 
the  Chevr.  de  la  Luzerne,  Count  de  Rochambeau  and  others 
to  me,  dated  between  the  middle  and  last  of  Feby.,  I  think 
there  will  be  no  war  in  Europe  this  year,  but  some  of  the  most 
intelligent  of  these  writers  are  of  opinion  that  the  Emperial 
Court  of  Russia,  will  not  suffer  matters  to  remain  tranquil 
much  longer.  The  desire  of  the  first  to  annex  the  Dutchy  of 
Bavaria  to  its  dominions  in  exchange  for  the  Austrian  pos- 
sessions in  the  Netherlands,  is  very  displeasing,  it  seems,  to  the 
military  powers,  which  added  to  other  matters  may  kindle 
the  flames  of  a  general  war. 

Few  matters  of  domestic  nature  are  worth  the  relation; 
otherwise  I  might  inform  you,  that  the  plan  for  improving 
and  extending  the  navigation  of  this  river  has  met  a  favourable 
beginning.  Tuesday  last  was  the  day  appointed  by  Law  for 
the  subscribers  to  meet;  250  shares  were  required  by  law  to 
constitute  and  incorporate  the  company:  but,  upon  comparing 


the  Books,  it  was  found  that  between  four  and  five  hundred 
shares  were  subscribed. 

What  has  been  done  respecting  the  navigation  of  James  river 
I  know  not;  I  fear  little. 

This  State  did  a  handsome  thing,  and  in  a  handsome  man- 
ner for  me;  in  each  of  these  navigations  they  gave  me,  and 
my  heirs  forever,  fifty  shares:  but  as  it  is  incompatible  with  my 
principles,  and  contrary  to  my  declarations,  I  do  not  mean  to 
accept  of  them.  But  how  to  refuse  them,  without  incurring 
the  charge  of  disrespect  to  the  Country  on  the  one  hand,  and 
an  ostentatious  display  of  disinterestedness  on  my  part  on  the 
other,  I  am  a  little  at  a  loss:  time  and  the  good  advice  of  my 
friends  must  aid  me,  as  the  Assembly  will  not  meet  'till  Octor., 
and  made  this  gratuitous  offer  among,  if  not  the  last  act  of 
the  last  Session,  as  if  they  were  determined  I  should  not  resolve 
what  to  do  from  the  first  impulse.  Mrs.  Washington  joins  me 
in  every  good  wish  for  you,  and  with  sentiments  of  attachment 
and  regard,  I  am,  &c.79 


Mount  Vernon,  May  21, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  Mr.  Boulton81  delivered  me  your  letter  of  the  13th., 
last  evening :  I  thank  you  for  sending  him  to  me.   I  have  agreed 
with  him  to  finish  my  large  room,  and  to  do  some  other  work,82 

79 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

80  Of  Maryland. 

"Richard  Boulton,  of  St.  Mary's  County,  Md. 

82  Boulton  was  to  begin  work  in  about  3  weeks.  In  the  Toner  Transcripts  in  the 
Library  of  Congress  is  a  copy  of  the  agreement  between  Boulton  and  Washington,  dated 
May  21,  1785,  by  the  terms  of  which  Boulton  was  to  finish  "  the  large  room  at  the  North 
end  of  the  said  Washingtons  dwelling  House  (Mount  Vernon)  in  a  plain  and  elegant 
manner;  either  of  Stucco,  Wainscot,  or  partly  of  both  as  the  said  George  Washington 
shall  direct  .  .  .  that  he  will  give  a  Cieling  to  the  Piazza  of  plain  Wainscot  .  .  .  and 
shall  moreover  Carve,  Turn,  Glaze,  or  Paint  (inside  work)  if  .  .  .  required." 

1785]  PAINTS,  ETC.  147 

and  have  no  doubt  from  the  character  given  of  him  by  you, 
that  he  will  answer  my  purposes,  as  he  has  no  one  now  to  lead 
him  into  temptation,  and  will  be  far  removed  from  improper 
associates  unless  he  is  at  much  pains  to  hunt  them:  it  may 
therefore  be  expected  that  he  will  avoid  the  rock  he  has  split 
upon  lately. 

I  thank  you  sincerely  my  good  Sir,  for  the  offer  of  such  of 
your  imported  articles  as  you  have  not  an  immediate  call  for; 
and  will  take  any  proportion  which  will  be  most  convenient 
for  you  to  share,  of  the  Spirit  of  Turpentine,  oil  and  paints  of 
all  sorts,  Lead,  Sash,  and  pullies,  of  the  different  sorts  and 
sizes  of  nails,  as  also  the  two  plate  brass  Locks,  if  Mr.  Boulton 
upon  examination,  shall  think  they  will  answer  my  room,  and 
of  the  glass  8  by  io.  The  large  kind  of  glass  does  not  suit  my 
sashes  (which  are  all  made),  and  a  marble  slab  (indeed  two) 
I  am  already  provided  with. 

I  have  promised  to  send  my  waggon  a  cover'd  one  with  lock 
and  key)  to  Colo.  Platers,83  on  some  landing  above,  for  Mr. 
Boulton's  tools :  all,  or  such  part  of  the  articles  as  I  have  enu- 
merated and  you  can  spare,  and  the  waggon  can  bring  in  ad- 
dition to  the  Tools,  may  accompany  them;  and  the  cost  and 
charges  of  them  shall  be  paid  to  your  order. 

Mrs.  Washington  and  the  family  join  me  in  offering  re- 
spectful compliments  to,  and  best  wishes  for  you  and  your 
Lady,  and  with  very  great  esteem  and  regard,  I  am,  etc. 

P.  S.  'Ere  this,  I  was  in  hopes  of  having  had  it  in  my  power 
to  have  offered  the  service  of  a  Jack,  or  two,  of  the  first  race 
in  Spain,  to  some  of  your  Mares,  if  you  shou'd  be  inclined  to 
breed  Mules,  but  they  are  not  yet  arrived,  another  year,  I  shall 
be  happy  to  do  this.84 

83  Col.  George  Plater,  of  St.  Mary's  County,  Md. 

84 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  May  22, 1785. 

Sir:  I  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  favor  of  the  12th.  in  time 
for  the  Meeting;  and  in  consequence  of  the  power  given  me  by 
you,  represented  the  State  on  the  17th.  inst: 

I  have  the  pleasure  to  inform  you  that  the  subscriptions 
(including  those  in  behalf  of  the  two  States)  amounted  to 
upwards  of  four  hundred  shares;  consequently  the  company 
became  legally  constituted  and  incorporated,  a  president  and 
Directors  were  chosen,  and  the  business,  we  persuade  our- 
selves, will  be  advanced  as  fast  as  the  nature  of  it  will  admit. 
I  have  the  honor,  etc.86 


Mount  Vernon,  May  23, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  The  last  Post  brought  me  your  letter  of  the  14th., 
inclosing  one  of  the  30th.  of  April  from  Mr.  Hollyday.  As 
soon  as  it  is  in  my  power  to  refresh  my  memory  by  having  re- 
currence to  my  Papers,  I  will  write  you,  or  Mr.  Hollyday,  more 
fully  on  the  subject  of  the  legacy  in  Colo.  Colvils  Will  to  Miss 
Anderson;87  or  person  under  whom  she  claims;  for,  strange  as 
it  may  seem,  it  is  nevertheless  true,  that  I  have  not  been  able 
since  my  retirement,  to  arrange  my  Papers,  or  to  attend,  in  the 
smallest  degree,  to  my  private  concerns.  The  former,  from 
the  hurry  with  which  they  have  been  removed  from  Book 
cases  into  Trunks,  and  sent  off  to  escape  the  ravages  of  the 
enemy,  when  their  Vessels  have  appeared,  are  in  great  disorder. 

85  Treasurer  of  the  State  of  Virginia. 

80 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

87  Miss  Harriet  Rebecca  Anderson,  of  London. 

1785]  SECRETARY  NEEDED  149 

I  allotted  the  last  Winter  for  the  adjustment  of  all  these  mat- 
ters; but  never  could  command  as  much  time  as  even  to  enter 
upon  the  business;  and  every  matter  and  thing  which  re- 
spects the  latter,  are  in  the  Situation  I  left  them  ten  years  ago. 
The  numberless  applications  from  officers  of  the  several  lines 
of  the  Army  for  Certificates  of  Service,  recommendations, 
Copies  of  Orders,  referrences  of  old  matters,  with  which  I 
ought  not  to  be  troubled,  in  addition  to  other  corrispondencies 
in  which  my  situation  has  involved  me,  confines  me  more  to 
my  writing  Desk  than  I  ever  was  at  any  period  of  my  life; 
and  deprives  me  of  necessary  exercise.  These,  with  other  causes, 
have  produced  the  effect  I  have  mentioned;  which  I  feel  more 
sensibly,  as  the  business  of  others,  with  which  I  have  been 
concerned,  is  involved;  and  is  now,  undergoing  the  same  Sus- 
pension, as  my  own.  For  sometime  past  I  have  been  (unsuc- 
cessfully) endeavouring  to  get  a  single  man  of  good  character, 
and  decent  appearance  (for  he  will  be  at  my  Table  and  with 
my  Company)  to  ease  me  of  this  burthen;  and  if  you  could 
recommend  one  of  this  description,  who  would  not  expect 
high  wages  (for  these  I  cannot  afford)  I  should  be  obliged  to 
you  for  so  doing.  To  suit  me,  he  must  be  a  person  of  liberal 
education,  a  master  of  composition,  and  have  a  competent 
knowledge  of  Accts.;  for  I  have  those  of  ten  years  standing, 
and  the  intermediate  transactions,  to  overhaul  and  adjust. 

Will  you  ever  come  to  see  me?  You  may  be  assured  that 
there  are  few  persons  in  the  World,  whose  visits  would  give 
more  sincere  pleasure  at  Mount  Vernon  than  yours.  Nothing 
could  encrease  the  satisfaction  of  it  more,  than  bringing  Mrs. 
Tilghman  with  you;  to  whom,  and  to  yourself,  Mrs.  Washing- 
ton joins  in  every  good  wish  with  Dr.  Sir,  etc. 

PS.  Upon  Second  thoughts,  it  occurs,  that  the  Revd.  Mr.  West 
of  Baltimore,  can  do  all  that  is  necessary  for  Miss  Anderson, 


without  any  agency  of  mine;  at  least  may  determine  with 
precision  what  ought  to  be  done.  He  is  the  Executor  of  his 
Brother,  Mr.  John  West,  who  was  the  principal  acting  Ex- 
ecutor of  Colo.  Thos.  Colvil.  and  has  been,  I  am  informed,  as- 
siduously employed  lately,  in  adjusting  the  concerns  of  that 

As  I  shall  not  write  to  Mr.  Hollyday  until  I  can  do  it  more  to 
the  purpose  than  at  present,  I  will  rely  upon  your  communi- 
cating what  is  here  mentioned,  to  him. 

I  am  in  want  of  two  inch  pine  Plank.  The  man  who  is  en- 
gaged to  work  for  me,  and  who  came  lately  from  Baltimore, 
says  he  saw  a  good  deal  at  that  place,  of  the  Eastern  white  Pine, 
which  appeared  to  him  to  be  seasoned  and  fit  for  my  uses.  If 
any  Vessel  should  be  coming  round  to  Alexandria,  and  you 
could  send  me  from  two  to  500  feet  of  it,  you  would  oblige 
me.88  Yrs.89  [h.s.p.] 


Mount  Vernon,  May  23,  1785. 

Sir:  The  little  share  I  had  in  the  administration  of  Colo. 
Colville's  Estate,  and  the  time  which  have  elapsed  since  I  had 
any  concern  at  all  with  the  Affairs  of  it,  render  me  very  in- 
competent to  give  the  information  you  require. 

Mr.  John  West  deceased  was  the  principal  acting  Executor 
of  the  Will  of  Colo.  Colvill,  and  the  Revd.  Mr.  West  of  Balti- 
more is  the  executor  of  John,  and  has  I  am  told  taken  much 
pains  to  adjust  the  papers  of  his  brother  and  the  business  of 
that  Estate:  from  him  therefore  you  may  probably  obtain 
more  precise  information  of  the  assets,  and  of  the  claimants 

88  On  July  6  Washington  wrote  briefly  to  Tilghman,  acknowledging  receipt  of  the 

^From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  THE  COLVILL  MATTER  151 

therefor  under  the  wild  devises  of  the  Will,  than  is  in  my 
power  at  this  time  to  give  you. 

All  I  recollect  of  the  matter  is,  that  the  devises  to  certain 
persons  in  England;  relations  of  the  Testator,  were  so  indefi- 
nite, and  stirred  up  such  a  multitude  of  claims,  that  it  was 
adjudged  necessary  for  the  safety  of  the  Executor  when 
the  surplus  Estate  (if  any)  should  be  ascertained,  to  deposit  the 
same  in  the  hands  of  the  Chancellor  to  be  disposed  of  to 
the  rightful  owner,  upon  due  proof  of  their  identity  before  him. 
What  may  have  been  the  surplus,  if  the  accots.  have  been 
finally  settled;  what  has  been  done  with  it,  or  under  what  pre- 
dicament it  may  have  been  placed  by  the  Laws  of  this  Gov- 
ernment, I  have  it  not  in  my  power,  without  a  good  deal  of 
research,  to  inform  you;  not  having  been  able  to  look  into  this 
business  any  more  than  into  that  which  more  immediately  con- 
cerns my  own,  since  my  return  to  private  life,  for  eight  years 
previous  to  it,  it  is  well  known  I  could  not.  I  am,  etc.90 


Mount  Vernon,  May  23,  1785. 
Dear  Sir:  It  would  have  given  me  much  pleasure  to  have 
seen  you  at  Richmond;  and  it  was  part  of  my  original  plan 
to  have  spent  a  few  days  with  you  at  Eltham,  whilst  I  was  in 
the  lower  parts  of  the  country;  but  an  intervention  of  cir- 
cumstances not  only  put  it  out  of  my  power  to  do  the  latter, 
but  would  have  stopped  my  journey  to  Richmond  altogether, 
had  not  the  meeting  (the  time  and  the  place)  been  of  my 
own  appointing.  I  left  company  at  home  when  I  went  away, 
who  proposed  to  wait  my  return,  among  whom  a  Mr.  Pine, 
an  artist  of  eminence,  came  all  the  way  from  Philadelphia  for 
some  materials  for  an  historical  painting  which  he  is  about, 

90 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


and  for  which  he  was  obliged  to  stay  'till  I  got  back,  which  I 
did  after  an  absence  of  eight  days  only. 

My  Nephew  G.  Aug:  Washington  is  just  returned  from  his 
peregrination;  apparently  much  amended  in  his  health,  but 
not  quite  free  from  the  disorder  in  his  breast.  I  have  under- 
stood that  his  addresses  to  your  Daughter  were  made  with 
your  consent;  and  I  now  learn  that  he  is  desirous,  and  she  is 
willing  to  fulfill  the  engagement  they  have  entered  into;  and 
that  they  are  applying  to  you  for  permission  therefor. 

It  has  ever  been  a  maxim  with  me  thro'  life,  neither  to  pro- 
mote, nor  to  prevent  a  matrimonial  connection,  unless  there 
should  be  something  indispensably  requiring  interference  in 
the  latter :  I  have  always  considered  marriage  as  the  most  inter- 
esting event  of  one's  life,  the  foundation  of  happiness  or  misery; 
to  be  instrumental  therefore  in  bringing  two  people  together 
who  are  indifferent  to  each  other,  and  may  soon  become  ob- 
jects of  hatred;  or  to  prevent  a  union  which  is  prompted  by 
mutual  esteem  and  affection,  is  what  I  never  could  reconcile 
to  my  feelings;  and  therefore,  neither  directly  nor  indirectly 
have  I  ever  said  a  syllable  to  Fanny  or  George  upon  the  sub- 
ject of  their  intended  connexion;  but  as  their  attachment  to 
each  other  seems  to  have  been  early  formed,  warm  and  last- 
ing, it  bids  fair  to  be  happy:  if  therefore  you  have  no  objection, 
I  think  the  sooner  it  is  consummated  the  better. 

I  have  just  now  informed  them  (the  former  thro'  Mrs.  Wash- 
ington) that  it  is  my  wish  they  should  live  here. 

It  is  unnecessary  I  hope  to  say  how  happy  we  should  be  to 
see  you,  her  brothers,  and  any  of  her  friends  here  upon  this 
occasion  (who  can  make  it  convenient  and  are  disposed  to 
come);  all  here  join  in  best  wishes  for  you,  and  with  very 
sincere  esteem  etc.91 

91  Ford's  text  varies  in  numerous  points  from  this  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Wash- 
ington Papers.  He  does  not  state  his  source. 

1785]  THE  NEW  MILLER  153 


Mount  Vernon,  May  25, 1785. 

Sir:  I  have  had  the  honor,  lately,  to  receive  your  favor  of  the 
18th.  of  July  last  year.  For  the  politeness  with  which  your 
Excellency  was  pleased  to  receive  my  nephew  G:  A.  Wash- 
ington, and  for  the  distinguished  marks  of  attention  which 
you  shewed  him  whilst  he  was  in  the  Island  of  Barbadoes  (for 
which  he  retains  a  grateful  sense)  I  feel  myself  exceedingly 
obliged,  and  should  be  happy  in  opportunities  to  convince  vour 
Excelly.  of  the  impression  they  had  made  on  me. 

My  nephew,  after  a  peregrination  thro'  many  of  the  W. 
India  Islands,  spending  some  time  in  Bermuda,  and  the  winter 
in  Charleston  (So.  Carolina)  returned  home  a  few  days  ago, 
a  good  deal  amended  in  his  health,  but  not  perfectly  restored 
to  it.  I  have  the  honor,  etc.93 


Mount  Vernon,  May  25,  1785. 

Gentn:  In  consequence  of  your  letter  of  the  5th.  of  last 
month,  I  discharged  Wm.  Roberts  from  my  Mill.  It  now  is, 
and  has  been  for  some  time  past  without  a  Miller ;  and  as  Mr. 
Davenport  from  your  Accot.  would  be  ready  to  take  charge 
of  it  in  about  three  weeks  (now  seven),  and  not  yet  come,  nor 
any  reason  given  why  he  has  not;  I  am  apprehensive  of  some 

If  this  is  the  case  I  should  be  glad  to  know  it  as  soon  as  pos- 
sible. One  Baker,  who  referred  to  you  for  a  character,  and 
was  employ'd  by  Colo.  Biddle  at  his  Mill  at  Georgetown,  has 

92  Of  Barbados,  West  Indies. 
From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


applied  to  me;  but  considering  myself  under  engagement,  I 
gave  him  no  encouragement.  A  person  who  writes  the  en- 
closed letter  has  also  offered,  but  I  have  given  him  no  answer. 
Some  others  have  likewise  made  application,  but  as  I  depended 
upon  Davenport  I  asked  for  no  character  nor  enquired  into 
their  qualifications.  If  Davenport  should  have  disappointed 
me,  would  Baker  answer  my  purpose  ?  Would  Reynolds  do 
better  ?  Or  have  you  any  other  in  view  which  you  think  pref- 
erable to  both  ?  I  am  sorry  to  give  you  so  much  trouble  with 
my  affairs  but  hope  you  will  excuse  it.  I  am  Gentn,  etc.94 


Mount  Vernon,  May  27, 1785. 
Sir:  My  objection  to  paying  your  account  when  here,  was, 
now  is,  and,  whether  it  is  done  or  not,  will  be:  that  it  comes 
neither  under  the  letter  nor  spirit  of  my  letter  to  Mr.  Baker. 
My  object  was  to  give  Lawce.  Posey95  a  years  schooling,  to  fit 
him  for  some  of  the  better  occupations  of  life:  to  do  this,  I 
agreed  to  pay  his  board  also,  both  of  which  together,  I  was 
inform'd  would  amount  at  the  free  school,  to  £iy,  Md.  Curry. 
What  followed?  Why  he  neither  went  to  the  School,  nor 
boarded  with  the  person  under  whose  care  he  was  intended  to 
be  put,  this  by  your  own  confession.  Is  it  just,  is  it  reasonable 
then  that  I  should  look  bac\  to  expences  which  had  been  in- 
curred previous  to  the  date  of  my  letter;  nor  even  forward  to 
what  might  be  incurred,  if  the  end  which  I  had  in  view  was 
not  to  be  answered  by  it  ?  If  the  child  did  not  go  to  the  school 
nor  derive  the  benefits  which  were  intended  him  from  it, 
could  it  be  supposed  I  meant  to  pay  for  his  board  without; 

94 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Tapers. 
95  A  son  of  John  Posey. 

1785]  THE  CRESAP  CLAIM  155 

when  his  fathers  House  and  eye  were  more  proper  than  any 
other?  Might  he  not  as  well  have  been  at  home  with  his 
father,  as  at  any  other  place  idle  ?  Upon  these  grounds  it  was 
and  under  this  state  I  repeat  it,  that  if  there  is  a  disinterested 
man  upon  Earth,  who  will  say  I  ought  to  comply  with  your 
request,  I  will  do  it:  and  you  may  have  the  chusing  of  him  or 
them;  for  it  does  not  suit  me  to  go  from  home  on  this  business. 
[  am,  &c.96 


Mount  Vernon,  May  31, 1785. 
Sir:  I  am  informed  that  a  patent  (in  consequence  of  a  Cer- 
tificate from  Commrs.  appointed  to  enquire  into,  and  decide 
upon  claims  for  settlement  of  the  Western  Lands)  is  about  to 
issue  to  the  heirs  of  Michl.  Cresap,  from  the  Land  Office  of 
this  Commonwealth,  for  a  tract  of  land  on  the  river  Ohio 
formerly  in  Augusta  County,  now  commonly  called  and  dis- 
tinguished by  the  [name  of]  Round  bottom:  against  grant- 
ing which  to  the  heirs  of  the  said  Cresap,  I  enter  a  Caveat  for 
the  following  reasons;  First,  because  this  Land  was  discovered 
by  me  in  the  month  of  Octor.  1770,  and  then  marked;  which 
was  before,  as  I  have  great  reason  to  believe,  the  said  Cresap, 
or  any  person  in  his  behalf  had  ever  seen,  or  had  the  least 
knowledge  of  the  tract.  Secondly,  because  I  did  at  that  time, 
whilst  I  was  on'  the  Land,  direct  Captn.  (afterwds.  Colo.) 
Willm.  Crawford  to  survey  the  same  for  my  use,  as  a  halfway 
place  or  stage  between  Fort  Pitt  and  the  200,000  acres  of  land 
which  he  was  ordered  to  survey  for  the  first  Virginia  regi- 
ment agreeably  to  Govr.  Dinwiddie's  Proclamation  of  1754. 
Thirdly,  because  consequent  of  this  order  he  made  the  survey 

80 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


(this  survey  is  either  in  the  hands  of  the  county  Surveyor  of 
Augusta,  or  with  my  agent  in  the  Westn.  Country:  it  is  not 
to  be  found  among  my  papers ;  tho'  I  am  sure  of  the  fact,  and 
will  procure  it  if  necessary)  in  the  month  of  the  year 

following  for  587  acres,  and  returned  it  to  me  accordingly: 
and  equally  certain  I  am  that  it  was  made  before  Mr.  Cresap 
or  any  person  in  his  behalf  had  ever  stretch'd  a  chain  thereon, 
knew  of,  or,  as  I  have  already  observed,  had  taken  a  single 
step  to  obtain  the  land.  Fourthly,  because  subsequent  of  this 
survey;  but  previous  to  any  claim  of  Cresaps,  a  certain  Dr. 
Brisco  possessed  himself  of  the  Land,  and  relinquished  it, 
after  I  had  written  him  a  letter  in  the  words  contained  in  the 
inclosure  No.  i.97  Fifthly,  because  upon  the  first  information 
I  received  of  Cresaps  pretentions,  I  wrote  him  a  letter,  of 
which  No.  2  is  a  copy.98  Sixthly,  because  it  was  the  practice 
of  Cresap,  according  to  the  information  given  me,  to  notch  a 
few  trees,  and  sell  as  many  bottoms  on  the  river  above  the 
Little  Kanhawa  as  he  could  obtain  purchasers,  to  the  disquiet 
and  injury  of  numbers.  Seventhly,  Because  the  Commrs.  who 
gave  the  Certificate  under  which  his  heirs  now  claim,  could 
have  had  no  knowledge  of  my  title  thereto,  being  no  person 
in  that  District  properly  authorised;  during  my  absence,  to 
support  my  claim.  Eighthly,  Because  the  survey,  which  was 
made  by  Colo.  Crawford,  who  was  legally  appointed  by  the 
Masters  of  Wm.  and  Mary  College  for  the  purpose  of  sur- 
veying the  aforesaid  200,000  acres,  is  expressly  recognized  and 
deemed  valid  by  the  first  section  of  the  Act,  entitled  an  Act, 
see  the  Act;  as  the  same  was  afterwards  returned  by  the  sur- 
veyor of  the  county  in  which  the  Land  lay.  Ninthly  and 
lastly,  Because  I  have  a  Patent  for  the  said  Land,  under  the 

97  See  Washington's  letter  to  Dr.  John  Brisco,  Dec.  3,  1772,  ante. 
98 See  Washington's  letter  to  Michael  Cresap,  Sept.  26,  1773,  ante. 

1785]  SECRETARY  NEEDED  157 

seal  of  the  said  Commonwealth  signed  by  the  Governr.  in  due 
form  on  the  30th.  day  of  Octor.  1784;  consequent  of  a  legal 
Survey  made  the  14th.  of  July  1773  as  just  mentioned,  and 
now  of  record  in  the  Land  Office. 

For  these  reasons  I  protest  against  a  Patent's  issuing  for  the 
Land  for  which  the  Commissioners  have  given  a  Certificate 
to  the  Heirs  of  Mr.  Cresap  so  far  as  the  same  shall  interfere 
with  mine:  the  legal  and  equitable  right  thereto  being  in  me. 

If  I  am  defective  in  form  in  entering  this  Caveat,  I  hope  to 
be  excused,  and  to  have  my  mistakes  rectified,  I  am  unaccus- 
tomed to  litigations;  and  never  disputed  with  any  man  until 
the  ungenerous  advantages  which  have  been  taken  of  the  pe- 
culiarity of  my  situation,  and  an  absence  of  eight  years  from 
my  country,  has  driven  me  into  Courts  of  Law  to  obtain  com- 
mon justice.  I  have  the  honor,  etc." 


Mount  Vernon,  June  2, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  As  your  letter  of  the  30th.  ulto.  did  not  reach  me 
until  late  this  afternoon,  and  as  the  Post  goes  from  Alexandria 
at  four  o'Clock  in  the  morning,  I  have  scarcely  a  moment 
(being  also  in  company)  to  write  you  a  reply.  I  was  not  suf- 
ficiently explicit  in  my  last:  the  terms  upon  which  Mr.  Fal- 
coner came  to  this  Country  are  too  high  for  my  finances  and 
(to  you,  my  dear  Sir,  I  will  add)  numerous  expences.  I  do 
not  wish  to  reduce  his,  perhaps  well  founded,  expectations; 
but  it  behooves  me  to  consult  my  own  means  of  complying 
with  them. 

I  had  been  in  hopes  that  a  young  man  of  no  great  expecta- 
tions might  have  begun  the  world  with  me,  for  about  fifty 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


or  sixty  pounds  pr.  ann:  Virga.  curry:  but  for  one  qualified  in 
all  respects  to  answer  my  purposes,  I  would  have  gone  as  far 
as  £75,  more  would  rather  distress  me. 

My  purposes  are  these;  to  write  letters  agreeably  to  what 
shall  be  dictated;  do  all  other  writing  which  shall  be  entrusted 
to  him;  Keep  accounts;  examine,  arrange  and  properly  meth- 
odize my  Papers  which  are  in  great  disorder;  ride,  at  my  ex- 
pence,  to  do  such  business  as  I  may  have  in  different  parts  of 
this  or  the  other  States,  if  I  should  find  it  more  convenient  to 
send,  than  attend  myself,  to  the  execution  thereof:  And,  which 
was  not  hinted  at  in  my  last,  to  initiate  two  little  children  (a 
girl  of  6  and  a  boy  of  4  years  of  age,  descendants  of  the  deed. 
Mr.  Custis  who  live  with  me  and  are  very  promising)  in  the 
first  rudiments  of  education:  this,  to  both  parties,  would  be 
mere  amusement,  because  it  is  not  my  desire  that  the  Children 
should  be  confined  closely.  If  Mr.  Falconer  should  incline  to 
accept  the  above  stipend,  in  addition  to  his  board,  washing 
and  mending;  and  you  (for  I  wou'd  rather  have  your  own 
opinion  of  the  gentleman,  than  the  report  of  a  thousand  others 
in  his  favor)  upon  a  close  investigation  of  his  character,  temper 
and  moderate  political  tenets  (for  supposing  him  an  English 
man,  he  may  come  with  the  prejudices  and  doctrines  of  his 
Country)  should  find  him  competent  to  the  duties  above  men- 
tioned, the  sooner  he  comes  the  better  my  purpose  would  be 

If  I  had  had  time,  I  might  have  added  more;  but  to  you  it 
would  have  been  unnecessary :  you  know  my  wants,  you  know 
my  disposition,  and  you  know  what  kind  of  a  man  would 
suit  me.  In  haste  I  bid  you  adieu,  with  assurances  of  great 
regard,  and  sincere  friendship,  I  am,  &C.1 

aFrom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  HOUSE  AT  BATH  159 


Mount  Vernon,  June  5,  1785. 

Dear  Sir:  The  celebrated  Mrs.  Macauly  Graham.2  and  Mr. 
Graham  her  Husband 3  are  here  on  a  Visit.  As  I  wish  to  shew 
them  all  the  respect  I  can,  I  should  be  glad  if  you,  Mrs.  Stuart 
and  your  Sister,  would  come  to  morrow  or  next  day,  and  dine 
with  us.   lam,  etc. 

PS  Come  tomorrow  if  convenient.4 


Mount  Vernon,  June  5, 1785. 

Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  10th.  of  March  came  safe,  but  not  in 
a  short  time  after  the  date  of  it.  The  reason  which  you  have 
assigned  for  giving  me  an  order  on  Mr.  Ryan,  is  perfectly 
satisfactory.  I  wish  that  that  or  any  other,  expedient  would 
have  extracted  from  him  what  he  owes  you.  From  the  Accot. 
given  of  his  circumstances  and  conduct  I  fear  you  have  incurred 
a  bad  debt  with  the  manager  of  the  Theatre. 

As  the  large  house  you  was  to  build  for  me,5  was  in  such 
forwardness  at  the  date  of  the  above  letter,  and  as  you  expected 
to  have  had  it  raised  by  the  first  of  May  last;  I  am  very  well 
satisfied  with  the  advance  it  has  made,  and  that  it  should  con- 
tinue, provided  you  can  make  it  convenient  to  wait  a  while 
for  your  money;  but  I  should  be  wanting  in  candor  were  I  to 
give  you  assurances  of  speedy  payment.  The  Kitchen  and  stable 

2 Catherine  Sawbridge  Macaulay  Graham. 

3Mrs.  Graham's  first  husband  had  been  Dr.  George  Macaulay;  her  second  was 
William  Graham. 

4  From  a  facsimile  in  Autograph  Letters  and  Documents  of  George  Washington  in 
Rhode  Island  Collections,  Historical  Publication,  Number  Six,  Providence,  R.  I.,  State 
Bureau  of  Information,  1932.  p.  171. 

6  In  Bath,  or  Warm  Springs,  Va. 


I  would  gladly  have  finished  as  soon  as  possible  and  what  ever 
the  cost  of  them  amounts  to,  I  will  settle  for  without  delay. 

It  gives  me  much  pleasure  to  find,  by  your  letter,  that  you 
are  not  less  sanguine  in  your  Boat  project,  than  when  I  saw 
you  last;  and  that  you  have  made  such  further  discoveries  as 
will  render  them  of  greater  utility  than  was  at  first  expected: 
you  have  my  best  wishes  for  the  success  of  your  plan. 

Inclosed  are  the  proceedings  of  the  Directors  of  the  Potomac 
navigation.  I  pray  you  to  have  them  set  up  at  some  public 
place.  If  the  manager  advertised  for,  can  come  well  recom- 
mended, liberal  wages  will  be  given  him.  It  were  to  be  wished 
that  the  following  qualities  could  be  readily  combined  in  the 
same  person,  integrity,  abilities,  indefatigable  industry,  and 
if  he  has  not  experimental  knowledge  of  this  particular  kind 
of  work,  at  least  that  he  may  be  possessed  of  a  genius  which 
may  soon  fit  him  for  it. 

Mr.  Ryan's  note  is  enclosed,  and  I  am  with  great  esteem, 
Sir,  etc.6 


Mount  Vernon,  June  10, 1785. 

Sir:  It  is  with  grateful  pleasure  I  sit  down  to  acknowledge 
the  receipt  of  your  favour  of  the  25th.  of  March  covering  a 
triplicate  of  your  letter  of  the  3d.  of  December  (which  is  the 
first  that  has  been  received),  and  a  copy  of  the  Count  of  Flor- 
ida Blanca's  note  to  you. 

I  feel  myself  under  singular  obligation  to  you  sir,  as  the 
mean  of  procuring  two  Jacks  of  the  first  race,  to  be  sent  me; 
but  my  gratitude  for  so  condescending  a  mark  of  esteem  from 
one  of  the  first  crowned  heads  in  Europe,  calls  for  a  better 
expression  than  I  have,  to  make  suitable  acknowledgments  to 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


His  Catholic  Majesty;  especially  too  as  his  Majesty's  very  val- 
uable present  was  accompanied  by  a  sentiment  of  approbation 
which  cannot  fail  of  making  a  lasting  impression  on  my  mind, 
and  of  becoming  very  dear  to  my  remembrance. 

It  is  to  you  Sir,  I  must  stand  further  indebted  for  the  manner 
of  making  known  in  terms  most  acceptable,  the  high  sense  I 
entertain  of  the  King's  goodness.  The  Jacks  are  not  yet  ar- 
rived, but  I  hope  they  soon  will;  and  the  accot.  which  you 
mean  to  transmit,  of  the  mode  of  treating  them  for  the  prop- 
agation of  mules,  will  be  equally  necessary  and  acceptable,  for 
my  management  of  them. 

Mr.  Gardoqui  is  safely  arrived  at  Philada.  I  have  not  had 
the  honor  of  paying  my  compliments  to  him;  but,  as  well 
for  the  respect  I  owe  his  sovereign,  and  his  own  great  merit,  as 
on  acct.  of  your  recommendation  of  him,  I  shall  be  happy  in 
every  opportunity  which  shall  offer  of  shewing  him  all  the 
attention  in  my  power. 

Great  Britain,  viewing  with  eyes  of  chagrin  and  jealousy 
the  situation  of  this  country,  will  not,  for  sometime  yet  if 
ever,  pursue  a  liberal  policy  towards  it;  but  unfortunately  for 
her  the  conduct  of  her  ministers  defeat  their  own  ends :  their 
restriction  of  our  trade  with  them,  will  facilitate  the  enlarge- 
ment of  Congressional  powers  in  commercial  matters,  more 
than  half  a  century  wou'd  otherwise  have  effected.  The  mer- 
cantile interests  of  this  Country  are  uniting  as  one  man,  to  vest 
the  federal  government  with  ample  powers  to  regulate  trade 
and  to  counteract  the  selfish  views  of  other  nations:  this  may 
be  considered  as  another  proof  that  this  Country  will  ever 
unite  in  opposition  to  unjust  or  ungenerous  measures,  when- 
soever or  from  whomsoever  they  are  offered.  I  have  the 
honor,  etc.7 

'From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  June  n,  1785. 

Sir:  On  the  8th.  inst:  I  received  the  favor  of  your  letter  of 
the  30th.  of  May:8  In  answer  to  it  I  can  only  say,  that  your 
own  good  judgment  must  direct  you  in  the  publication  of  the 
manuscript  papers  of  Geni.  Lee.  I  can  have  no  request  to 
make  concerning  the  work. 

I  never  had  a  difference  with  that  Gentleman  but  on  public 
grounds,  and  my  conduct  towards  him  upon  this  occasion,  was 
such  only,  as  I  conceived  myself  indispensably  bound  to  adopt 
in  discharge  of  the  public  trust  reposed  in  me.  If  this  pro- 
duced in  him  unfavourable  sentiments  of  me,  I  yet  can  never 
consider  the  conduct  I  pursued,  with  respect  to  him,  either 
wrong  or  improper;  however  I  may  regret  that  it  may  have 
been  differently  viewed  by  him,  and  that  it  excited  his  censure 
and  animadversions.  Should  diere  appear  in  Genl.  Lee's  writ- 
ings any  thing  injurious  or  unfriendly  to  me,  the  impartial  and 
dispassionate  world,  must  decide  how  far  I  deserved  it  from 
the  general  tenor  of  my  conduct. 

I  am  gliding  down  the  stream  of  life,  and  wish  as  is  natural, 
that  my  remaining  Days  may  be  undisturbed  and  tranquil; 
and  conscious  of  my  integrity,  I  would  willingly  hope  that 
nothing  would  occur  tending  to  give  me  anxiety;  but  should 
any  thing  present  itself  in  this  or  any  other  publication,  I  shall 
never  undertake  the  painful  task  of  recrimination,  nor  do  I 
know  that  I  should  ever  enter  upon  my  justification.  I  con- 
sider the  communication  you  have  made  as  a  mark  of  great  at- 
tention, and  the  whole  of  your  letter  as  a  proof  of  your  esteem. 
I  am,  &c.9 

This  letter  is  in  the  Washington  Papers,  as  is  also  the  printed  prospectus  of  the  pro- 
posed publication.    Lee  bequeathed  his  papers  to  Goddard  and  these  were  to  have 
formed  the  basis  of  the  work  which  Goddard  never  published. 
"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  AN  INQUIRY  163 


Mount  Vernon,  June  15,  1785. 

Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  1st.  of  Feby.  from  Plymouth  Dock, 
came  safe.  In  explicit  terms  I  assure  you,  that  the  information 
which  I  suppose  you  must  have  received  respecting  a  Will, 
and  the  plantations  of  a  Mr.  Richd.  Richards,  is  without  the 
smallest  foundation.  I  never  heard  of  the  man,  his  Will,  or 
the  Estate  which  you  say  was  left  in  my  hands,  until  your  let- 
ter reached  me:  equally  unacquainted  am  I  with  Lawyer 
Haines  or  Lawr.  Briton,  consequently  can  give  you  no  satis- 
faction in  any  of  the  matters  requested  of  me. 

If  any  such  event  as  you  speak  of  ever  did  happen  with  any 
of  my  name,  it  is  unknown  to  me,  it  is  not  in  my  power  there- 
fore to  give  you  any  clue  by  which  you  may  pursue  your 
enquiries,  or  I  would  do  it  with  pleasure.  I  am,  etc.10 


Mount  Vernon,  June  15,  1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  I  have  been  honored  with  your  favor  of  the  25th. 
of  April,  but  have  not  yet  had  the  pleasure  of  seeing  Doctr. 
Moyes;  on  the  22d.  inst:  I  shall  look  for  him. 

I  pray  you  to  be  assured  that  it  is  unnecessary  for  you  to 
apologize  to  me  for  the  introduction  of  any  Gentleman,  of 
whom  you  entertain  a  favourable  opinion:  such  as  you  conceive 
worthy  of  my  civilities,  will  always  meet  a  welcome  reception 
at  Mt.  Vernon. 

I  shall  now  my  good  Sir,  give  you  a  little  trouble.  A  Gen- 
tleman whose  person,  whose  name,11  and  whose  character  are 

10 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
u  Charles  Vancouver. 


equally  unknown  to  me  has  written  me  the  enclosed  letter, 
to  which,  as  yet  I  have  made  no  reply.  The  work  if  well  exe- 
cuted would  unquestionably  be  valuable  and  ought  to  be  en- 
couraged; but  the  abilities  of  the  author  I  am  a  stranger  to,  and 
it  has  been  too  often  found  that  similar  attempts,  by  persons 
whose  reputations  not  established  in  the  literary  world,  are 
founded  in  ignorance,  or  end  in  imposition:  to  encourage  the 
first,  or  to  give  sanction  to  the  latter  would  be  alike  disagree- 
able to  me.  I  would  beg  therefore,  if  it  is  not  likely  to  be 
attended  with  much  trouble,  that  you  would  be  so  obliging  as 
to  give  your  own,  and  the  sentiments  of  others  on  the  Author 
and  his  performance,  that  I  may  be  enabled  to  decide  properly 
with  respect  to  his  request. 

My  respectful  Compliments  and  best  wishes,  in  which  Mrs. 
Washington  joins,  are  presented  to  Mrs.  Powel  and  yourself, 
and  I  am,  Dr.  Sir,  etc.12 


Mount  Vernon,  June  15,  1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  A  few  days  ago  Mr.  Sitgreaves13  gave  me  the  pleas- 
ure of  receiving  your  letter  of  the  4th.  of  May.  It  is  the  only 
one  I  recollect  to  have  had  from  you  since  my  return  to  private 

It  gives  me  pleasure  to  hear  that  Congress  have  dealt  hon- 
orably by  you,  and  mean  to  do  more;  it  is  devoutly  to  be  wished 
that  they  could  do  the  same  by  all  the  officers  whose  meritori- 
ous services  and  sufferings  have  a  just  claim  upon  their  grati- 
tude, and  call  loudly  for  their  exertions. 

^From  die  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

"John  Sitgreaves.  He  was  a  Delegate  to  the  Continental  Congress  from  North 

1785]  A  SCHOOL  EXPENSE  165 

As  you  are  at  the  source  of  intelligence,  anything  I  could 
say  respecting  foreign  matters,  would  only  be  a  reverberation 
of  intelligence;  and  few  things  occur  of  a  domestic  nature 
worthy  of  recital.  Mrs.  Washington  is  in  tolerable  good  health 
and  joins  me  in  compliments  and  best  wishes  for  you,  Mr.  Lots14 
family,  and  others  of  our  old  acquaintance.  I  am,  etc.15 


Mount  Vernon,  June  16,  1785. 
Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  14th.  is  this  moment  delivered  to  me. 
Moral  obligations,  or  the  obligations  of  humanity  therefore 
induced  me  to  bestow  a  years  schooling  on  Lawce.  Posey,  and 
to  effect  it  I  was  willing  to  incur  the  expence  of  a  years  board 
also;  the  same  motives  might  have  induced  you,  without  mak- 
ing a  charge  of  it  against  me,  to  have  acted  a  similar  part  in 
other  respects  by  the  boy;  for  sure  I  am,  my  connexion  with 
him  was  not  stronger,  nor  legal  honorary  obligation  greater 
on  me  than  on  any  other  mans  to  excite  them.  Schooling,  I 
reiterate  in  this  letter,  as  I  urged  in  my  former,  was  my  object; 
consequently,  if  he  did  not  go  to  the  Free  School  in  Queen 
Anne,  (the  place  designed)  as  you  yourself  acknowledged  to 
me,  nor  to  any  other  School,  for  what  purpose  let  me  ask  was 
I  to  pay  ,£17?  Was  not  his  Fathers  house,  if  time  was  to  be 
misspent,  the  best  place  for  him  to  waste  it  in  ?  Can  it  be  sup- 
posed I  ever  had  it  in  contemplation  to  board  him  out  for  the 
purpose  of  idleness  ?  If  then  the  condition  of  my  letter  to  Mr. 
Baker  were  never  complied  with,  as  you  candidly  confessed 
to  me  they  were  not  when  here,  where  is  the  justice  of  requir- 
ing £  17,  or  an  iota  of  it  from  me,  when  the  compensation  was 

"Abraham  Lott,  of  New  York  City. 

15 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


expressly  stipulated  ?  But  I  will  be  done.  I  am  too  much  en- 
gaged in  company  and  in  business  to  go  further  into  the  detail 
of  this  matter. 

If  Genl.  Robardeau  (whom  you  mentioned  to  me  yourself 
in  a  former  letter)  will  be  so  obliging  as  to  undertake  to  deter- 
mine the  point,  I  shall  be  perfectly  satisfied  with  his  decision. 
I  shall  expect  however  that  both  this  letter,  and  my  former  to 
you  which  was  directed  to  his  care,  and  such  papers  as  you 
exhibited  to  me,  will  be  laid  before  him,  one  of  which  certified 
that  Lawce.  Posey  was  not  at  the  Free  school:  another,  in  ef- 
fect that  your  charge  was  antecedent  to  the  date  of  my  letter  to 
Mr.  Baker,  and  a  third,  from  Capt.  Posey  to  you,  which  will 
serve  to  proove  that  he  was  a  House-Keeper  at  Rovers-delight 
(as  he  call'd  his  place)  at  the  time  you  want  me  to  pay  you  for 
the  boy's  board,  when  he  was  not  at  school,  nor  ever  derived  the 
benefit  which  was  the  object  of  my  benevolence.  I  am,  etc.17 


Mount  Vernon,  June  18, 1785. 

My  dear  Sir:  I  am  quite  ashamed  to  be  so  long  deficient  in 
acknowledging  the  receipt  of  your  favors  of  the  24th.  and  29th. 
of  March,  and  5th.  of  May;  but  an  intervention  of  circum- 
stances (with  the  enumeration  of  which  I  shall  not  trouble 
you)  have  prevented  it. 

It  gave  me  great  pleasure  to  hear  of  your  appointment  as 
Secretary  at  War.  without  a  complimt.,  I  think  a  better  choice 
could  not  have  been  made,  and  though  the  Salary  is  low,  it 
may,  under  the  circumstances  you  mention,  be  considered 
as  auxiliary.   Inclosed  is  a  certificate18  of  Service  for  Major 

10  Daniel  Roberdeau. 

17  From  the  "  Letter  Book  "  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

18 A  copy  of  this  certificate,  dated  June  18,  1785,  is  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the 
Washington  Papers. 

1785]  WESTERN  POSTS  167 

Sergeant,19  of  whose  worth  I  have  a  high  opinion;  but  for  want 
of  a  more  competent  knowledge  of  the  time  of  his  entering  the 
line  of  the  Army,  and  of  the  Commissions  he  has  borne,  I  could 
not  be  more  particular.  At  any  time  this  Summer,  the  Lime- 
stone would  be  useful  to  me;  but  the  sooner  it  comes  the  greater 
benefit  I  shall  derive  from  it,  as  the  Walls  for  which  I  want  it, 
are  now  in  hand.  The  sentiment  which  you  have  dropped  re- 
specting the  appropriation  of  the  shares  which  were  intended 
for  me,  by  the  Assembly  of  this  State,  in  the  Navigations  of 
the  Rivers  Potomack  and  James,  is  very  pleasing;  and  would 
give  me  great  pleasure  to  see  it  reallized.20 

For  want  of  a  competent  view  of  the  designs  of  Congress  re- 
specting the  Western  Territory;  and  not  knowing  how  matters 
stand  with  Great  Britain,  respecting  the  Posts  of  Detroit  and 
other  places  at  present  occupied  by  British  Garrisons,  on  the 
American  side  of  the  Line;  I  feel  an  unfitness  to  answer  your 
question  respecting  such  Posts  as  may  be  proper  for  the  pur- 
poses you  mentioned;  but  under  the  ideas  I  hold  at  prest,  I  am 
inclined  to  think  that  if  Garrisons  are  to  be  established  within 
the  limits  and  jurisdiction  of  any  of  the  13  States,  the  Fort  Pitt, 
or  Fort  Mcintosh,21  whichever  shall  be  found  most  convenient 
and  in  best  repair,  would  suit  very  well  for  a  Post  of  deposits; 
from  whence  all  the  others  should  be  supplied,  and  as  it  is  my 
opinion  that  great  part  of  the  Fur  and  Peltry  of  the  Lakes 
(when  we  shall  have  free  access  to  them)  will  be  transported  by 
the  Cayahoga  and  big  beaver  Creek,  a  Post  at  the  mouth  of,  or 

19Winthrop  Sargent. 

20 Knox  had  written  (March  24:  "Perhaps  my  dear  Sir  you  could  intimate  to  the 
Legislature  in  a  manner  which  would  be  clear  of  every  indelicate  imputation  that 
should  they  think  proper  to  apply  the  produce  of  this  fund  to  the  maintenance  of 
Widows,  and  the  support,  and  education  of  the  children  of  those  men  of  their  own  line 
who  sacrificed  their  lives  in  defence  of  their  Country,  and  of  the  maimed  soldiers,  that 
the  measure  would  rear  an  eternal  monument  to  the  virtue  of  the  Commonwealth  of 
Virginia."  Knox's  letter  is  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

21  On  the  Ohio  River,  25  miles  below  Pittsburgh,  Pa. 


at  some  convenient  Post  on  the  former,  must  be  eligable.  The 
spot  marked  Miami  village  and  Fort  in  Hutchins's  map,  I 
have  always  considered  as  of  importance,  being  a  central  point 
between  Lake  Erie,  Lake  Michigan,  and  the  river  Ohio;  com- 
municating with  each,  by  Water.  To  these  the  Falls  of  the 
Ohio,  or  some  more  convenient  spot  for  the  lower  settlements, 
may  be  added.  Whether  this  chain  embraces  territory  enough, 
whether  it  goes  far  enough  to  the  Southward  to  afford  protec- 
tion to  the  back  parts  of  Virginia  the  Carolinas  and  Georgia;  or 
whether  these  are  objects  which  are  meant  to  be  comprehended, 
are  for  those  who  are  more  behind  the  Curtain  than  I  am,  to 
determine.  My  opinion  of  the  matter  is,  that  I  have  described 
a  sufficient  extent  of  the  Country  to  answer  all  our  present  pur- 
poses; beyond  which,  neither  Settlements  nor  Locations  of 
Land  ought  to  be  admitted;  because  a  larger  would  open  a 
more  extensive  field  for  Land  jobbers  and  Speculators.  Weaken 
our  Frontiers,  exclude  Law,  good  government,  and  taxation  to 
a  late  period,  and  injure  the  union  very  essentially  in  many 

At  the  conflux  of  the  Great  Kanhawa  and  Ohio,  a  Post  might 
be  established  so  as  to  answer  beneficial  purposes.  Indeed  it  is 
the  opinion  of  many,  that  it  is  a  more  eligable  place  than  Pitts- 
burg. In  time,  if  the  navigation  of  the  Kanhawa  should  be  ex- 
tended, and  an  easy  communication  opened  with  James  River, 
it  may  be  so;  but  in  the  present  state  of  things,  considering  the 
Settlements  about  the  latter,  and  the  sources  from  whence  pro- 
ceed all  the  Supplies  of  that  Country,  it  certainly  is  not.  As  a 
protection  of  the  River,  and  the  movements  thereon,  it  is 

If  I  am  right  in  my  principles  some  such  distribution  as  the 
following  may  not  be  ineligable  for  the  700  men  which  are 
ordered  to  be  raised.  At  Fort  Pitt,  Fort  Mcintosh,  or  the  Mouth 


of  big  Beaver  (being  in  the  vicinity  of  a  thick  settlemt.)  only 
ioo  Men.  Cayahoga,  from  whence  a  Detachment  might  occupy 
the  carrying  place  between  that  water  and  big  Beaver;  being 
on  the  line,  and  most  exposed,  should  have  200.  Miami  Fort,  or 
Village  and  Dependencies,  Do.  Do.  200.  At  the  Falls  of  the 
Ohio,  or  some  spot  more  convt.  and  healthy,  on  that  river  150. 
At  the  Conflux  of  the  Great  Kanhawa  and  Ohio  for  security  of 
the  River,  protection  of  Trade,  and  covering  emigrants,  50. 
Total  700. 

Mrs.  Macauly  Graham  and  Mr  Graham,  and  others,  have 
just  left  this,  after  a  stay  of  about  10  days.  A  Visit  from  a  Lady 
so  celebrated  in  the  Literary  world  could  not  but  be  very  flatter- 
ing to  me. 

Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  best  wishes  for  yourself,  Mrs. 
Knox  and  family;  with  great  truth  and  sincerity  I  am  etc. 



[June  21, 1785] 
Sir:  The  last  Post  brought  me  the  honor  of  your  favor  of  the 
12th.  inst:  I  am  made  happy  by  occasions  which  induce  you  to 
write  to  me,  and  shall  take  pleasure  in  rendering  Mr.  De 
Corney 22  any  service  in  my  power.  I  will  immediately  inform 
myself  of  the  name  and  residence  of  the  Treasurer  of  the  So- 
ciety of  the  Cincinnati  in  this  State,  and  transmit  Mr.  De  Cor- 
ney's  Bill  on  Colo.  Wadsworth 2S  to  him. 

I  am  obliged  to  you  Sir,  for  the  several  communications  in 
your  letter.  I  wish  something  disagreeable  may  not  result  from 
the  contentions  respecting  the  navigation  of  the  river  Missis- 
sippi; the  emigration  to  the  waters  thereof  is  astonishingly 

22  Louis  Dominique  Ethis  de  Corny. 

23  Jeremiah  Wadsworth. 


great,  and  chiefly  from  a  description  of  people  who  are  not  very 
subordinate  to  the  Laws  and  Constitution  of  the  States  they  go 
from;  whether  the  prohibition  of  the  Spaniards  therefore  is 
just  or  unjust,  politic  or  impolitic,  it  will  be  with  difficulty  that 
a  people  of  this  class  can  be  restrained  from  the  enjoyment  of 
natural  advantages.  It  is  devoutly  to  be  wished  that  Mr.  Gar- 
doqui  would  enter  into  such  stipulations  with  Congress  as  may 
avert  the  impending  evil,  and  be  mutually  advantageous  to 
both  nations. 

After  the  explicit  declarations  of  the  Emperor  respecting 
the  navigation  of  the  Scheldt,  and  his  other  demands  upon 
Holland,  it  should  seem  I  think,  as  if  he  stood  in  a  predicament 
not  very  desirable;  for  if  he  recedes,  his  foresight  and  judgment 
may  be  arraigned;  and  if  he  proceeds,  his  ruin  may  be  involved. 
But  possibly  I  am  hazarding  Sentiments  from  a  superficial 
view  of  things,  when  it  will  appear  ultimately  that  he  has  had 
important  objects  in  view,  and  accomplished  them. 

I  take  the  liberty  of  addressing  the  enclosed  letter  to  your 
care,  and  to  assure  you  of  the  respect  and  esteem  with  which  I 
have  the  honor,  etc.24 


Mount  Vernon,  June  22, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  I  stand  indebted  to  you  for  two  letters,  one  of  the  8th. 
of  September,  the  other  of  the  9th.  of  Feby.,  the  first  should  not 
have  remained  so  long  unacknowledged,  but  for  the  expecta- 
tion I  had  of  the  second,  the  second  led  me  to  expect  a  third, 
upon  the  receipt  of  which  I  meant  to  give  you  but  one  trouble 
by  replying  to  them  all  at  the  same  time. 

24 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers.   The  original  of  this 
letter  is  said  to  be  (1934)  in  the  Historical  Museum,  Leningrad,  U.  S.  S.  R. 
25 Of  Whitehaven,  England. 

1785]  PIAZZA  FLAGSTONE  171 

Permit  me  to  thank  you  Sir,  for  your  attention  to  my  Com- 
missions: the  joiner  arrived  safe,  and  I  believe  will  fully  answer 
your  description  and  expectation  of  him;  he  gives  great  satisfac- 
tion, and  seems  well  satisfied  himself.  The  expence  of  his  pas- 
sage, and  your  advance  to  him,  has  been  paid  to  Mr.  Sanderson.26 

I  delayed  making  choice  of  either  of  the  samples  of  Flag- 
stone, until  I  had  seen  the  Irish  marble,  and  was  made  ac- 
quainted with  the  cost  of  it;  but  as  it  is  not  yet  arrived,  and  I 
like  the  whitest  and  cheapest  of  the  three  samples  wch.  you 
sent  me  by  Capt.  Atkinson,  I  request  the  favor  of  you  to  forward 
by  the  first  opportunity  (with  some  to  spare  in  case  of  breakage 
or  other  accidents)  as  much  of  this  kind  as  will  floor  the  Gallery 
in  front  of  my  house,  which  within  the  margin,  or  border  that 
goes  round  it,  and  is  already  laid  with  a  hard  stone  of  the  Coun- 
try, is  92  feet  7V2  inches,  by  12  feet  9%  inches. 

Having  given  the  exact  dimension  of  the  floor  or  space  which 
is  to  be  laid  with  flagstone,  I  shall  leave  it  to  the  workman  to 
procure  them  of  such  a  size  (not  less  than  one  floot  square,  and 
all  of  one  size)  as  will  answer  best,  and  accord  most  with  the 
taste  of  the  times.  I  take  it  for  granted  that  7^d  of  8d  is  the 
price  of  the  white  Stone  in  the  prepared  state  in  which  it  was 
sent,  and  that  shipping  charges  and  freight  only,  are  to  be  added 
to  the  cost:  if  a  rough  estimate  of  the  latter  had  been  men- 
tioned, it  would  have  been  more  pleasing,  as  I  could  then  have 
prepared  accordingly. 

I  am  at  a  loss  to  determine  in  what  manner  these  dressed 
Flags  can  be  brought  without  incurring  much  expence,  or 
being  liable  to  great  damage :  to  put  them  in  Cases,  will  involve 
the  first;  and  to  stow  them  loose,  the  other  may  be  sustained; 
unless  great  care  is  used  in  the  stowage,  which  is  rarely  to  be 
found  among  Sailors,  or  even  Masters  of  Vessels.  If  the  Flags 

26  Robert  Sanderson,  Rumney's  partner. 


are  well  dressed,  a  little  matter  will  chip  the  edges,  and  break 
the  corners;  which  would  disfigure  the  work  and  be  hurtful 
to  the  eye.  I  will  give  no  direction  therefore  on  this  head,  your 
own  judgment  on  the  spot  shall  dictate;  at  the  same  time  I  have 
but  little  doubt,  if  they  are  placed  in  the  hold  of  the  Ship  with 
hay  or  straw  to  keep  them  from  rubing,  of  their  coming  free 
from  damage. 

I  will  soon  follow  this  letter  with  a  remittance  from  hence,  or 
draft  upon  London  for  a  sum  to  enable  you  to  discharge  the  un- 
dertaker. In  the  mean  while  let  me  pray  you  to  hasten  the 
execution  and  Shipping  of  them,  as  my  Gallery  is  very  much  in 
want.  With  great  esteem,  etc.27 


Mount  Vernon,  June  22,  1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  Since  my  last  to  you  I  have  been  favored  with  your 
letters  of  the  5th,  27th,  and of  May,  and  beg  your  accept- 
ance of  my  thanks  for  their  enclosures,  and  for  the  communi- 
cations you  were  pleased  to  make  me  therein. 

I  am  very  glad  to  find  you  have  pass'd  an  Ordinance  of 
Congress  respecting  the  sale  of  the  Western  Lands :  I  am  too 
well  acquainted  with  the  local  politics  of  individual  States, 
not  to  have  foreseen  the  difficulties  you  met  with  in  this  busi- 
ness; these  things  are  to  be  regretted,  but  not  to  be  altered  until 
liberallity  of  sentiment  is  more  universal.  Fixing  the  Seat  of 
Empire  at  any  spot  on  the  Delaware,  is  in  my  humble  opinion, 
demonstrably  wrong:  to  incur  an  expence  for  what  may  be 
call'd  the  permanent  seat  of  Congress,  at  this  time,  is  I  con- 
ceive evidently  impolitic;  for  without  the  gift  of  prophecy, 
I  will  venture  to  predict  that  under  any  circumstance  of 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Wellington  Tapers. 

1785]  SALE   OF   WESTERN  LANDS  173 

confederation,  it  will  not  remain  so  far  to  the  Eastward  long; 
and  that  until  the  public  is  in  better  circumstances,  it  ought  not 
to  be  built  at  all.  Time,  too  powerful  for  sophistry,  will  point 
out  the  place  and  disarm  localities  of  their  power.  In  the 
meanwhile  let  the  widow,  the  Orphan  and  the  suffering  Sol- 
dier, who  are  crying  to  you  for  their  dues,  receive  that  which 
can  very  well  be  rendered  to  them. 

There  is  nothing  new  in  this  quarter  of  an  interesting 
nature,  to  communicate,  unless  you  should  not  have  been  in- 
formed that  the  Potomac  navigation  proceeds  under  favour- 
able auspices:  At  the  general  meeting  of  the  subscribers  in  May 
last,  it  appeared  that  upwards  of  400  of  the  500  shares  had  been 
engaged;  many  more  have  been  subscribed  since;  a  Board  of 
Directors  have  been  chosen,  proper  characters  and  Labourers 
advertized  for,  to  commence  the  work  in  the  least  difficult 
parts  of  the  river,  'till  a  skillful  Engineer  can  be  engaged  to 
undertake  those  which  are  more  so;  and  it  is  expected  the 
work  will  be  begun  by  the  10th.  of  next  month.  With  great 
esteem,  &c.28 


Mount  Vernon,  June  22, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  I  stand  indebted  to  you  for  your  favors  of  the  3d, 
7th,  and  29th.  of  last  month,  and  feel  myself  exceedingly 
obliged  to  your  Excellency  for  the  communications  and  en- 
closures therein. 

It  gives  me  pleasure  to  find  that  an  Ordinance  of  Congress 
has  passed  respecting  the  Western  Territory:  A  little  longer 
delay  of  this  business,  and  I  believe  the  Country  would  have 
been  settled,  maugre  all  that  could  have  been  done  to  prevent 
it;  as  it  is,  I  am  not  clear  that  the  same  respect  will  be  paid  now 

38 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


to  this  Ordinance,  which  would  have  been  at  an  earlier  period, 
before  men  began  to  speculate  in  Lands  No.  West  of  the  Ohio, 
and  to  obtrude  themselves  thereon. 

From  the  general  tenor  of  my  letters  from  very  respectable 
characters  in  France,  I  think  it  most  likely  that  the  dispute 
between  die  Emperor  and  Holland  will  be  settled  without 
bloodshed,  and  that  the  former  will  hardly  be  able  to  effect 
the  exchange  of  his  Northerland  Dominions  for  the  Dutchy 
of  Bavaria;  among  other  reasons,  because  the  Duke  of  Deux 
Ponts,29  nephew  and  heir  to  the  Elector  is  opposed  thereto:  but 
notwithstanding  that,  the  state  of  politic's  and  temper  of  some 
of  the  formidable  Powers  of  Europe  are  such  as  to  place  war 
at  no  remote  distance. 

I  have  just  parted  with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Macauly  Graham,  who 
after  a  stay  of  about  ten  days,  left  this  in  order  to  embark  for 
England,  from  New  York :  I  am  obliged  to  you  for  introduc- 
ing a  Lady  to  me  whose  reputation  among  the  literati  is  high, 
and  whose  principles  are  so  much  and  so  justly  admired  by  the 
friends  of  liberty  and  of  mankind;  it  gives  me  pleasure  to  find 
that  her  sentiments  respecting  the  inadequacy  of  the  powers 
of  Congress,  as  also  those  of  Doctr.  Price's,  coincide  with  my 
own;  experience  evinces  the  trutii  of  these  observations,  and 
the  late  movements  of  the  mercantile  interest  exhibits  a  re- 
cent proof  of  the  conviction  it  is  working  in  the  popular  mind : 
but  it  is  unfortunate  for  us,  that  evils  which  might  have  been 
averted,  must  be  first  felt;  and  our  national  character  for  wis- 
dom, justice  and  temperance,  suffer  in  the  eyes  of  die  world, 
before  we  can  guide  the  political  machine  as  it  ought  to  be. 

The  plan  for  improving  and  extending  the  navigation  of 
this  river,  is  in  a  promising  way:  inclosed  I  do  myself  the 

29 Charles  II,  Duke  of  Zweibriicken. 

1785]  DELAY  OF  A  WORKMAN  175 

honor  of  sending  you  the  printed  proceedings  of  the  Board  of 

Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  compliments  and  every  good 
wish  for  you,  and  with  great  esteem  etc.80 


Mount  Vernon,  June  24, 1785. 

Mr.  Boulton:  Your  letter  of  the  4th.  inst:31  never  reached 
me  until  Monday  last.  I  do  not  enter  into  agreements,  but 
with  an  intention  of  fulfilling  them;  and  I  expect  the  same 
punctuality  on  the  part  of  those  with  whom  they  are  made: 
and  you  must  therefore  perform  your's  with  me,  or  abide  the 

The  reason  which  you  assign  for  not  coming  is  futile  and 
can  have  no  weight  with  your  creditors ;  your  property  and  your 
labour  are  all  means  with  which  you  can  satisfy  them;  a 
mortgage  or  bill  of  sale  of  the  first;  and  an  order  on  me  by 
way  of  security  of  the  latter  as  your  wages  shall  arise,  is  all 
they  can  desire  (if  your  Tools  are  unsaleable)  and  these  are 
in  your  power  to  give  them. 

You  know  the  purposes  for  which  I  engaged  you,  and  that 
they  are  important  and  urgent:  that  I  waited  a  considerable 
time  after  Colo.  Fitzhugh  had  recommended  you  to  me,  with- 
out applying  elsewhere,  for  your  answer;  that  near  a  month 
more  has  elapsed  since  our  agreement  took  place;  that  the 
season  is  now  far  advanced,  and  workmen  consequently  so 
much  engaged  as  not  to  be  procured;  In  the  meanwhile,  the 
roof  of  my  house  yields  to  every  rain,  and  the  furniture  in  no 

""From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

As  printed  in  the  Memoir  of  Richard  Henry  Lee,  this  letter  contained  the  following 
P.  S.,  not  recorded  in  the  "Letter  Book":  "Col.  Wm.  Brent  died  two  or  three  days 
ago.  Your  son  Ludwell  was  well  at  our  court  yesterday." 

81  In  the  Washington  Papers. 


part  of  it  is  secure  from  the  injuries  which  result  therefrom. 
These  reasons  will  fully  justify  my  holding  you  to  the  engage- 
ment we  have  entered  into,  and  I  expect  you  will  enter  upon 
the  performance  of  it  without  delay.  I  am,  etc.82 


Mount  Vernon,  June  24, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  The  letter  which  your  Excellency  did  me  the  honor 
to  write  to  me  on  the  10th.  inst:  came  duly  to  hand,  and  calls  for 
my  particular  acknowledgments;  and  my  grateful  thanks 
for  your  obliging  offers. 

Altho'  I  conceive  that  the  sunken  Lands  lying  on  Alber- 
marle  sound,  and  the  waters  emptying  into  it,  will  in  time  be- 
come the  most  valuable  property  in  this  Country;  yet  when 
I  reflect  further,  that  it  will  require  a  considerable  advance  to 
reclaim  and  render  them  fit  for  cultivation,  and  in  the  mean- 
time that  they  may  be  subjected  to  expences;  I  believe  it  would 
be  most  advisable  for  me,  in  my  situation  not  to  add  to  my 
present  expenditures;  but  I  am  so  much  obliged  by  your 
friendly  offer  to  serve  me  in  this  matter,  as  if  they  had  actually 
been  rendered.  If  your  Excellency  could  make  it  convenient 
to  give  me  the  substance  of  the  report  of  the  Commrs.,  re- 
specting the  place  and  manner  which  are  thought  best  for  a 
cut  between  the  waters  of  Elizabeth  river  and  those  of  North 
Carolina,  I  should  think  myself  obliged:  the  improving  and 
extending  the  inland  navigation  of  the  waters  of  this  Coun- 
try, are  in  my  judgment  very  interesting  to  the  well  being 
and  glory  of  it,  and  I  am  always  pleased  with  any  accounts 
which  seem  to  facilitate  those  important  objects.  With  great 
esteem  etc.82 

32 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 




Mount  Vernon,  June  25,  1785. 

Dear  Sir:  In  the  evening  of  yesterday,  I  was  favored  with 
your  letter  of  the  21st.;  and  thank  you  for  your  early  and 
friendly  attention  to  the  enquiry  I  made  of  you. 

I  do  not  now  recollect  whether  I  was  so  explicit  as  perhaps 
I  ought  to  have  been  in  communicating  all  the  purposes  for 
which  I  wanted  an  assistant:  they  are  these.  A  Gentleman 
who  can  compose  a  good  letter  from  the  heads  which  shall  be 
given  to  him;  do  all  other  writing  which  shall  be  entrusted 
to  his  care;  keep  accounts;  examine,  arrange  and  properly 
methodize  my  papers  (which  from  hasty  removals  into  the 
interior  country,  are  in  great  disorder) ;  ride,  at  my  expence, 
to  do  such  business  as  I  may  have  in  different  parts  of  this, 
or  the  other  States,  if  I  should  find  it  more  convenient  to  send 
than  attend  myself  to  the  execution  thereof;  and  occasionally 
to  devote  a  small  portion  of  time  to  initiate  two  little  children 
(a  Girl  of  six,  and  a  boy  of  four  years  of  age,  descendants  of 
the  deed.  Mr.  Custis  who  live  with  me  and  are  very  promising, 
and  whom  I  would  not  wish  to  confine)  in  the  first  rudiments 
of  Education. 

A  fit  person  who  inclines  to  accept  these  employments,  will 
live  as  I  do,  be  company  for  those  who  visit  at  the  House,  have 
his  washing  and  mending  found  him,  and  such  wages  as  we 
can  agree  upon;  which  I  must  be  candid  in  declaring  can  not 
be  high,  as  my  finances  and  expenditures  will  not  admit  of  it. 

If  you  think  Mr.  Shaw 34  competent  to  these  ends  and  find 
him  disposed  to  be  employed  for  them  I  wish  to  know  it  by 
the  return  of  the  Post,  as  there  are  others  offering.   If  he  would 

33  Of  Dumfries,  Va. 

^William  Shaw.  He  acted  as  a  secretary  from  July,  1785,  to  May,  1786. 


write  to  me,  or  to  you  upon  the  subject,  the  letter  in  the  latter 
case  to  be  enclosed  to  me,  I  could  form  some  judgment  of  his 
hand  writing  and  diction :  he  will  please  to  signify  the  lowest 
wages  which  he  will  take  per  arm :  or  quarterly.  If  he  chooses 
a  personal  interview,  which  perhaps  may  be  more  agreeable, 
I  should  be  glad  to  see  him  here,  with  some  samples  of  his 
writing.  With  great  esteem,  etc.35 


Mount  Vernon,  June  26, 1785. 
Sir:  My  nephews  are  desirous  of  going  to  the  Dancing  School 
in  Georgetown  kept  by  Mr.  Tarterson  (I  think  his  name  is), 
and  as  it  is  my  wish  that  they  should  be  introduced  into  life 
with  those  qualifications  which  are  deemed  necessary,  I  con- 
sent to  it.  Sometime  ago  I  expressed  my  approbation  of  their 
learning  French,  and  a  wish  that  when  you  had  got  your 
House  in  order  to  receive  them,  they  might  again  board  with 
you:  Altho'  I  have  no  occasion  [sic]  the  care,  attention  and 
kindness  of  Mr.  Bailey 36  to  them,  I  conceive  they  can  board  at 
no  place  so  eligably  as  at  their  Preceptors;  for  it  is  my  wish 
that  their  morals  as  well  as  education  may  be  attended  to;  and 
tho'  I  do  not  desire  they  should  be  deprived  of  necessary 
and  proper  amusements,  yet  it  is  my  earnest  request  that  they 
may  be  kept  close  to  their  studies.  I  am,  etc.35 


Mount  Vernon,  June  30, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  I  received  your  favor  of  the  28th.  last  night.   I  was 
under  promise  when  I  wrote  to  you  on  the  25th.  of  giving  an 

35 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
36  William  Bailey,  of  Georgetown. 



answer  to  an  application  which  had  been  made  to  me,  in  a 
few  days  before,  which  are  now  nearly  expired:  that  I  may 
be  decisive  on  it,  I  should  be  glad  to  know  precisely  what  Mr. 
Shaw  would  expect  for  his  services  if  he  comes  to  me;  for 
altho'  I  cannot  as  I  observed  in  my  last,  afford  to  give  high  pay 
on  the  one  hand,  so  neither  would  I,  by  any  means,  leave  it 
indefinite  on  the  other :  whatever  stipulations  I  enter  into,  shall 
be  strictly  complied  with;  which  will  leave  no  cause  for  dis- 
content.  I  am  the  more  explicit  in  these  declarations  because  I 
am  apprehensive  that  higher  pay  is  expected  from  me  than 
I  can  afford  to  give.   Mr.  Shaw  undoubtedly  has  set  a  value 
upon  his  (those  wch.  are  to  be  rendered)  services,  he  knows 
what  he  has  received  for  former  services;  It  is  not  reasonable 
to  expect  that  any  Gentleman  will  lessen  his  prospects  by  com- 
ing to  me,  nor  do  I  desire  it.   I  do  not  expect  him  for  less  than 
he  can  obtain  elsewhere;  but  if  my  means  will  not  enable  me 
to  give  as  much,  I  must  do  without,  or  get  one  less  capable  of 
assisting  me. 

Another  thing  in  Mr.  Shaw's  proposals  is  not  very  agreeable 
to  me:  if  a  Gentn.  does  not  engage  with  me  for  some  fixed 
time,  I  may  in  a  month,  nay  less,  be  put  to  a  greater  non-plus 
than  ever,  which  would  be  inconvenient,  and  perhaps  injuri- 
ous to  me,  short  engagements  and  early  notice  of  discontinu- 
ance might  answer  the  purpose  of  Mr.  Shaw,  and  remove  my 

That  matters  may  be  reduced  to  a  certainty,  and  I  enabled 
to  give  the  answer  above  alluded  to,  in  time,  I  send  this  by  a 
special  messenger.  I  am  obliged  to  attend  the  Board  of  Direc- 
tors in  Alexandria  tomorrow;  but  whether  I  shall  be  detained 
there  longer  is  at  present  uncertain;  I  should  be  glad  there- 
fore if  it  is  convenient,  to  see  Mr.  Shaw  here  this  evening,  or 
on  Saturday,  or  at  Alexandria  tomorrow,  when  upon  a  little 


conversation  we  can  readily  determine  whether  our  purposes 
can  be  reciprocally  answered. 

He  will  not,  indeed  cannot,  be  considered  in  the  light  of  a 
preceptor,  because  this  as  I  observed  in  my  last,  is  only  occa- 
sional and  secondary.  I  am,  etc.37 


Mount  Vernon,  June  30,  1785. 
My  Lady:  In  the  last  letter  which  I  had  the  honor  to  write 
to  you,  I  informed  your  Ladyship  of  the  communication  I 
had  made  to  the  President  of  Congress  of  your  wishes  to  ob- 
tain Lands  in  the  Western  Territory  for  a  number  of  Emi- 
grants as  a  means  of  civilizing  the  Savages,  and  propagating 
the  Gospel  among  them.  In  answer,  he  informed  me  that 
Mr.  Henry,  Governor  of  this  State,  had  laid  your  Ladyships 
letter  and  plan  which  were  addressed  to  him,  before  Congress, 
in  a  full  and  ample  manner;  but  his  private  opinion  of  the 
matter  was,  that  under  the  pressure  of  Debt  to  which  this 
fund  was  to  be  appropriated,  and  the  diversity  of  sentiment 
respecting  the  mode  of  applying  it,  that  no  discrimination 
would,  or  indeed  could  be  made  in  favor  of  Emigrants  of  any 
description  whatsoever.  I  waited  however  a  considerable  time 
to  know  the  result  of  Mr.  Henry's  reference,  before  I  would 
give  your  Ladyship  the  trouble  of  another  letter  on  this  sub- 
ject; but  hearing  nothing  more  of  the  matter,  and  having  had 
the  enclosed  resolutions  and  ordinance  sent  to  me  by  the  Presi- 
dent himself,  as  the  result  of  their  long  and  painful  delibera- 
tion on  the  mode  of  disposing  of  the  Western  Lands,  I  will 
delay  no  longer  to  express  my  concern  that  your  Ladyships 

37 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  ACORNS,  NUTS,  ETC.  181 

humane  and  benevolent  views  are  not  better  seconded.  The 
resolutions  and  ordinance  herewith  enclosed  (on  which  I  shall 
make  no  comments)  will  give  the  terms  and  shew  your  Lady- 
ship the  mode  by  which  the  Lands  belonging  to  the  Union 
are  to  be  obtained;  in  other  words,  how  difficult  it  must  be  for 
foreigners  to  know  when  or  where  to  apply  for  them.  With 
the  highest  respect  and  consideration,  etc.38 


Mount  Vernon,  June  30,  1785. 

Dear  Sir:  My  nephew39  delivered  me  your  letter  of  the  21st. 
of  April.  For  the  kind  attention  shewn  him  by  Mrs.  Wash- 
ington and  yourself  he  entertains  a  grateful  sense,  and  I  offer 
you  my  sincere  thanks,  which  I  should  be  glad  to  renew  to 
you  both  in  person  at  this  place.  He  enjoys  a  tolerable  share 
of  health,  but  is  gone  to  (what  are  called  in  his  Country)  the 
Sweet  Springs,  to  obtain  a  better  stock  to  fit  him  for  the  pleas- 
ures, and  duties  too,  of  a  matrimonial  voyage  on  wch.  he  is 
to  embark  at  his  return. 

I  would  thank  you  my  good  Sir,  for  the  Acorns,  Nutts,  or 
seeds  of  trees  or  plants  not  common  in  this  Country;  but 
which  you  think  would  grow  here,  especially  of  the  flower- 
ing kind:  the  best  method,  I  believe,  to  preserve  those  which 
are  apt  to  spoil  by  withering  and  drying,  and  from  worms,  is 
to  put  them  into  dry  Sand  as  soon  as  they  are  gathered;  this 
retains  the  moisture  in  them,  and  vegitative  properties,  with- 
out sprouting. 

Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  best  respects  to  you  and  your 
Lady,  and  I  am  etc.38 

38 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
88 George  Augustine  Washington. 



Mount  Vernon,  June  30, 1785. 

Sir:  By  my  nephew  I  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  favor  of 
the  20th.  Mar:  accompanied  with  some  plants  and  Seeds  of  the 
Palmetto  royal,  for  which  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  sincere 
thanks:  the  former  are  not  only  alive  yet,  but  look  vigorous; 
and  the  latter  (being  sowed)  are  vegitating,  and  appearing 
above  ground.  I  shall  nurse  them  with  great  attention. 

It  would  give  me  great  pleasure  to  visit  my  friends  in  So. 
Carolina:  but  when,  or  whether  ever  it  may  be  in  my  power 
to  accomplish  it,  is  not,  at  this  moment,  in  my  power  to  decide. 
I  have  the  honor,  etc.40 


Mount  Vernon,  June  30, 1785. 

My  Dr.  Sir:  When  I  wrote  you  in  Feby.  last,  I  intended  to 
have  followed  it  with  a  letter  of  earlier  date  than  the  present; 
but  one  cause  succeeding  another,  has  prevented  it  'till  now. 

I  proceeded  to  a  diligent  search  for  the  paper  requested  in 
your  favor  of  the  23d.  of  August  last  year,  and  after  examining 
every  bundle,  and  indeed  despairing  of  success,  it  occurred  to 
me  that  your  accot.  with  Lord  Fairfax  might  afford  some  clue 
by  which  a  discovery  of  it  might  be  made;  and  in  looking  in 
your  ledger  for  an  index  I  found  the  receipts  pasted  on  the 
cover  of  the  Book.  Having  a  call  to  Richmond  the  latter  end 
of  April,  I  took  the  receipts  with  me  intending  to  leave  them 
in  the  hands  of  the  Attorney  General;  but  it  being  his  opinion 
there  would  be  no  occasion  for  them,  I  brought  them  back, 
and  restored  them  to  the  place  from  whence  I  took  them:  the 

40From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  NATIONAL  WISDOM  183 

enclosed  are  copies  of  those  receipts,  which  I  meant  should  sup- 
ply the  place  of  the  originals,  had  they  passed  from  me  to  the 

I  have  not  yet  received  the  Pictures  which  you  were  so  oblig- 
ing as  to  send  me  by  Mr.  Bracken;  but  have  some  prospect  now 
of  getting  them,  as  Colo.  Bassett  who  left  this  lately  and  who 
expects  to  be  up  again  in  Octor.  to  the  marriage  of  his  Daughter 
who  lives  with  us,  with  a  son  of  my  brother  Charles  (who 
acted  as  an  Aid  de  Camp  to  the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette  from  the 
year  1780,  to  the  close  of  the  War)  has  promised  to  bring  them. 
Altho'  I  have  been  so  long  deprived  of  the  copy,  I  have  lately 
had  the  pleasure  of  seeing  the  original  in  the  hands  of  the 
designer  and  executioner  Mr.  Pine,  who  spent  three  weeks 
with  me  in  May  last. 

Mr.  Pine  has  met  a  favorable  reception  in  this  Country;  and 
may,  I  conceive,  command  as  much  business  as  he  pleases:  he 
is  now  preparing  materials  for  historical  representations  of 
some  of  the  most  important  events  of  the  War;  and  if  his 
choice  and  the  execution  is  equal  to  the  field  he  has  to  display 
his  talents  in,  the  pieces  (which  will  be  large)  will  do  him 
much  credit  as  an  artist,  and  be  interesting  for  America  and  its 
friends  as  a  deposit  for  their  posterity. 

The  information  which  you  have  given  of  the  disposition 
of  a  certain  Court  coincides  precisely  with  the  sentiments  I 
had  formed  of  it  from  my  own  observations  upon  many  late 
occurrences,  and  from  a  combination  of  circumstances.  With 
respect  to  ourselves,  I  wish  I  could  add,  that  as  much  wisdom 
had  pervaded  our  councils;  as  reason  and  common  policy  most 
evidently  dictated;  but  the  truth  is,  the  people  must  feel  be- 
for  they  will  see;  consequently,  are  brought  slowly  into  meas- 
ures of  public  utility.  Past  experience,  or  the  admonitions 
of  a  few,  have  but  little  weight,  where  ignorance,  selfishness 


and  design  possess  the  major  part :  but  evils  of  this  nature  work 
their  own  cure;  tho'  the  remedy  comes  slower  than  those  who 
foresee,  or  think  they  foresee  the  danger,  attempt  to  effect. 
With  respect  to  the  commercial  system  which  G:  B:  is  pursu- 
ing with  this  country,  the  Ministers,  in  this  as  in  other  matters, 
are  defeating  their  own  ends,  by  facilitating  those  powers  in 
congress  which  will  produce  a  counteraction  of  their  plans, 
and  which  half  a  century  without,  would  not  have  invested 
that  body  with.  The  restriction  of  our  trade,  and  the  additional 
duties  which  are  imposed  upon  many  of  our  staple  commodi- 
ties, have  put  the  commercial  people  of  this  Country  in  motion; 
they  now  see  the  indispensable  necessity  of  a  general  controul- 
ing  power,  and  are  addressing  their  respective  Assemblies  to 
grant  this  to  Congress.  Before  this  every  State  thought  itself 
competent  to  regulate  its  own  Trade,  and  were  verifying  the 
observations  of  Lord  Sheffield;  who  supposed  we  never  could 
agree  upon  any  general  plan:  but  those  who  will  go  a  little 
deeper  into  matters,  than  his  Lordship  seems  to  have  done,  will 
readily  perceive  that  in  any  measure  where  the  Fcederal  inter- 
est is  touched,  however  wide  apart  the  politics  of  individual 
States  may  be,  yet  as  soon  as  it  is  discovered  they  will  always 
unite  to  effect  a  common  good. 

The  Subscriptions  for  improving  and  extending  the  inland 
navigation  of  Potomac,  have  filled  very  fast:  A  Company  is  in- 
corporated, a  President  and  Directors  are  chosen,  a  Dividend 
of  the  money  will  soon  be  paid  in,  and  the  work  will  begin 
about  the  first  of  August.  We  still  want  a  skilful  Engineer,  a 
man  of  practical  knowledge  to  conduct  the  business ;  but  where 
to  find  him  we  know  not  at  present :  In  the  meanwhile  the  less 
difficult  parts  of  the  river  will  be  attempted,  that  no  time  may 
be  lost  in  effecting  so  important  and  salutary  an  undertaking. 

1785J  AN  ENGLISH  FARMER  185 

Our  course  of  Husbandry  in  this  Country,  and  more  espe- 
cially in  this  State,  is  not  only  exceedingly  unprofitable,  but  so 
destructive  to  our  Lands,  that  it  is  my  earnest  wish  to  adopt  a 
better;  and  as  I  believe  no  Country  has  carried  the  improve- 
ment of  Land  and  the  benefits  of  Agriculture  to  greater  per- 
fection than  England,  I  have  asked  myself  frequently  of  late, 
whether  a  thorough  bred  practical  english  Farmer,  from  a  part 
of  England  where  Husbandry  seems  to  be  best  understood  and 
is  most  advantageously  practised,  could  not  be  obtain'd  ?  and 
upon  what  terms  ?  The  thought  having  again  occurred  to  me, 
whilst  I  was  in  the  act  of  writing  this  letter,  I  resolved  as  a  more 
certain  and  eligible  mode  of  having  the  questions  determined, 
to  propound  them  to  you.  That  a  man  of  character  and  knowl- 
edge may  be  had  for  very  high  wages  there  can  be  no  doubt, 
money  we  know  will  fetch  anything,  and  command  the  serv- 
ices of  any  man;  but  with  the  former  I  do  not  abound.  To 
engage  a  man  upon  shares  as  the  Overseers  of  this  Country 
are,  might  be  productive  of  much  discontent  to  the  employed; 
for  we  could  scarcely  convey  to  a  good  English  Farmer  a  just 
idea  of  the  wretched  condition  of  our  Lands,  what  dressings 
they  will  require,  and  how  entirely  our  system  must  be  changed 
to  make  them  productive:  and  if  we  do  not,  disappointment 
and  continual  murmurings  would  be  the  consequence.  It  fol- 
lows then  that  the  only  means  by  which  we  can  think  of  obtain- 
ing one,  must  be  to  give  standing  wages:  for  what  then  my 
good  Sir,  do  you  think  a  sober,  industrious  and  knowing 
Farmer  might  be  had  to  take  one  of  our  plantations,  say,  of 
ten  labourers  ?  Or  to  bring  the  matter  nearer  to  his  own  con- 
ception of  things,  a  Farm  of  about  200  or  250  acres  of  cleared 
Land,  to  be  stocked  with  a  competent  number  of  Plows,  Black 
Cattle,  Sheep  and  hogs  ? 


When  I  speak  of  a  knowing  farmer,  I  mean  one  who  under- 
stands the  best  course  of  crops;  how  to  plough,  to  sow,  to  mow, 
to  hedge,  to  Ditch  and  above  all,  Midas  like,  one  who  can  con- 
vert every  thing  he  touches  into  manure,  as  the  first  transmuta- 
tion towards  Gold:  in  a  word  one  who  can  bring  worn  out  and 
gullied  Lands  into  good  tilth  in  the  shortest  time.  I  do  not 
mean  to  put  you  to  the  trouble  of  actually  engaging  one,  but  I 
should  be  obliged  to  you  for  setting  on  foot  the  enquiry,  and 
for  communicating  the  result  of  it  to  me;  because  I  could  not 
receive  your  answer  in  time  for  the  next  year;  the  autumn 
being,  as  you  well  know,  the  season  at  which  our  Overseers  are 
engaged,  and  our  plans  for  the  ensuing  Crop  must  be  formed. 

These  enquiries,  as  you  will  readily  perceive,  are  pointed  to 
a  Farmer  of  the  middling  class;  which  more  than  probably, 
would  best  answer  my  purpose :  but,  if  it  could  be  made  con- 
venient to  you  to  extend  enquiries  further;  permit  me  to  ask  if 
one  of  a  higher  order  could  be  had  ?  And  upon  what  terms  ?  I 
mean  for  a  Steward. 

It  may  not  in  this  place  be  amiss  to  observe  to  you  that  I  still 
decline  the  growth  of  Tobacco;  and  to  add,  that  it  is  my  inten- 
tion to  raise  as  little  Indian  Corn  as  may  be:  in  a  word,  that  I 
am  desirous  of  entering  upon  a  compleat  course  of  husbandry 
as  practiced  in  the  best  Farming  Counties  of  England.  I  en- 
quire for  a  man  of  this  latter  description  with  little  hope  of 
success,  ist.  because  I  believe  one  who  is  compleatly  fit  for  my 
purposes,  wou'd  be  above  my  price;  and  2dly  because  I  have 
taken  up  an  idea  that  an  English  steward  is  not  so  much  a 
farmer,  as  he  is  an  Attorney  or  an  accomptant;  because  few  of 
the  Nobility  and  Gentry  having  their  Estates  in  their  own 
hands,  stand  more  in  need  of  a  Collector  who,  at  the  same  time 
that  he  receives  the  rents,  will  see  that  the  Covenants  of  the 
Leases  are  complied  with,  repairs  made  &c,  &c,  than  of  a 


Farmer.  In  this  however  I  may  be  mistaken.  One  thing  more 
and  then  I  will  close  this  long  letter:  if  from  your  own  observa- 
tion, or  from  good  information  you  should  fix  your  eyes  upon 
men  of  one  or  both  of  these  descriptions,  and  could  ascertain 
his  or  their  terms  (leaving  me  at  liberty  to  accede  to  them  or 
not,  within  a  reasonable  time  for  an  intercourse  by  letter),  I 
had  rather  he  or  they  should  be  personally  known  to  you;  or 
their  characters  well  ascertained  by  a  friend  in  whom  you  can 
confide;  because  what  you  or  such  a  person  would  say  of  them, 
I  could  rely  upon:  but  how  often  do  we  find  recommendations 
given  without  merit  to  deserve  them,  founded  in  a  disposition 
to  favor  the  applicant,  or  want  of  resolution  to  refuse  them, 
oftentimes  indeed,  to  get  rid  of  a  dependent  who  is  trouble- 
some or  injurious  to  us,  upon  what  are  called  decent  terms.  A 
man  in  the  character  of  a  Steward  (if  single,  and  his  appear- 
ance equal  to  it)  would  live  in  the  House  with  me  and  be  at 
my  table,  in  the  manner  Lund  Washington  was  accustomed 
to  do,  who  is  now  married41  and  a  House  Keeper  tho'  still  at- 
tending my  business.  The  common  Farmer  would  live  on  the 
Farm  which  would  be  entrusted  to  his  care. 

I  have  lately  had  the  pleasure  of  receiving  your  favor  of  the 
19th.  of  March,  and  to  learn  by  it  that  Mrs.  Fairfax  and  you 
have  enjoyed  better  health  than  usual,  last  winter :  a  continuance 
of  it  Mrs.  Washington  and  I  most  sincerely  wish  you. 

I  have  not  yet  seen  Mr.  Thos.  Corbin,  he  sent  your  letter 
under  cover  a  few  days  ago  with  assurances  of  making  me  a  visit 
as  soon  as  he  had  recovered  from  a  slight  indisposition.  He 
appears  from  your  account  to  have  been  very  ill  treated  by  his 
brother  Dick;  but  the  latter  I  understand  has  not  been  behind 
him  in  charges  to  some  of  his  friends  in  this  country,  who  think 
Thos.  in  the  wrong. 

"He  had  married  Elizabeth  Foote  in  1782. 


Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  most  affectionate  regards,  and 
in  every  good  wish  for  you  and  Mrs.  Fairfax,  with  much  truth 
I  am,  &c. 

P.  S.  I  thank  Mr.  Heartley 42  for  the  compliments  he  sent  me 
thro'  you,  and  for  his  other  polite  attentions  to  me;  and  pray 
you  to  make  mine  acceptable  to  him  whenever  a  proper  oc- 
casion offers.  I  did  not  know  of  your  Nephew's  intended  trip 
to  England  or  I  would  most  assuredly  have  written  to  you  by 
so  good  an  opportunity.43 


Mount  Vernon,  June  30,  1785. 

Sir:  Your  favor  of  the  16th.  of  last  month  came  safely  to 

You  do  me  much  honor  by  proposing  to  inscribe  a  work 
(of  which  you  sent  me  a  specimen)  to  my  special  patronage 
and  protection :  but  dio'  willing  to  give  every  support  to  the 
encouragement  of  literature  and  useful  knowledge,  which  may 
be  within  my  sphere  of  action;  yet,  on  the  present  occasion  I 
must  beg  leave  to  decline  the  honor  of  having  your  labors 
dedicated  to  me.  With  chearfulness  I  will  follow  the  subscrip- 
tions (wch.  I  presume  must  'ere  this,  be  pretty  well  advanced) 
of  Gentn.  of  my  acquaintance;  and  with  a  proper  sense  of  the 
distinction  meant  for  me,  I  am,  etc.43 


Mount  Vernon,  July  2, 1785. 
Sir:  Early  in  last  month  I  wrote  you  an  answer  to  your  letter 
of  March  10th.,  and  sent  it  under  cover  to  my  brother  in 

42  David  Hartley. 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]        POTOMAC   COMPANY   MANAGER  189 

Berkeley,  who  happened  at  that  time  to  be  from  home:  the 
presumption  is  however,  that  you  have  received  it  'ere  this, 
and  I  shall  not  trouble  you  with  a  repetition  of  the  sentiments 
therein  contained. 

In  that  letter  I  enclosed  you  a  hand  Bill  of  the  proceedings 
of  the  Board  of  Directors,44  containing  an  advertisement  of 
their  want  of  a  Manager,  two  Assistants,  some  Overseers,  and 
a  number  of  Labourers;  requesting  that  it  might  be  exposed 
at  some  public  place  in  the  county  where  you  live:  those  of 
the  two  first  descriptions  were  required  to  meet  the  Directors 
at  Alexandria  on  yesterday;  but  whether  the  notice  was  too 
short,  or  that  characters  who  are  competent  to  the  business 
are  difficult  to  be  met  with,  I  shall  not  take  upon  me  to  deter- 
mine; but  none  appearing  with  such  testimonials  of  their 
abilities,  industry  and  integrity,  as  the  Board  conceived  indis- 
pensably necessary  for  their  justification,  no  agreement  was 
made,  but  the  14th.  inst.  appointed  for  them  and  others,  to 
produce  such,  of  their  qualification  for  this  business. 

As  I  have  imbibed  a  very  favorable  opinion  of  your  me- 
chanical abilities,  and  have  had  no  reason  to  distrust  your  fit- 
ness in  other  respects;  I  took  the  liberty  of  mentioning  your 
name  to  the  Directors,  and  I  dare  say  if  you  are  disposed  to 
offer  your  services,  they  would  be  attended  to  under  favour- 
able circumstances:  but  as  this  is  a  business  of  great  magni- 
tude, and  good  or  ill  impressions  in  the  commencement  of  it 
will  have  a  powerful  effect  on  the  minds  of  the  Adventurers, 
and  on  the  public  opinion;  and  as  the  Directors  are  no  more 
than  Trustees  of  the  Company,  and  of  consequence  must  pro- 
ceed circumspectly;  Candour  obliges  me  to  observe  to  you,  as 
I  believe  some  of  those  who  will  meet  for  the  purpose  of  ap- 
pointing a  Manager  and  Assistants  have  only  a  superficial 

44  Of  the  Potomac  Company. 


acquaintance  with  you,  that  it  might  be  well,  if  you  incline  to 
offer  your  services,  to  bring  some  letters  or  other  credential  of 
your  industry  &c,  and  if  these  were  to  come  from  members 
of  the  Company  they  would  have  the  greater  weight. 

Colo.  Gilpin45  (one  of  the  Directors,  and  who  is  the  bearer 
of  this  letter)  is  on  his  way  to  the  Falls  of  Seneca  and  Shenan- 
doah; and  it  would  be  fortunate  if  he  shou'd  meet  with  you 
in  this  trip.  I  am,  etc.46 


Mount  Vernon,  July  3, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  In  the  interval,  between  your  leaving  this  and  the 
arrival  of  Mr.  Briscoe,47  Mr.  Montgomerie  (of  Dumfries)  rec- 
ommended a  young  man  whom  he  thought  would  answer 
my  purpose;  and  being  desired  to  speak  to  him,  he  accepted  my 
offer  and  will  be  with  me  in  the  course  of  a  few  days.  Had  it 
not  been  for  this,  the  good  character  given  of  Mr.  Briscoe  by 
you,  and  others,  would  have  induced  me,  without  hestitation 
to  have  accepted  his  Services.  I  thank  you  very  sincerely  for 
the  ready  and  early  attention  you  paid  to  my  enquiries,  to 
assure  you  of  the  great  esteem  and  regard  I  have  for  you,  is 
unnecessary,  because  you  must  be  convinced  of  it.  I  shall  only 
add  therefore  that  I  am,  etc.48 


Mount  Vernon,  July  8, 1785. 
Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  4th.  I  receiv'd  on  the  6th.  Altho'  the 
sum  stipulated  is  above  the  mark  I  had  prescribed  myself  yet, 

"George  Gilpin. 

46 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

"William  Brisco. 

48  From  the  original  in  the  House  of  Representatives  Collection,  Library  of  Congress. 

1785]  SECRETARY'S  PAY  191 

in  consideration  of  the  good  character  given  of  you  by  Mr. 
Montgomerie,  the  idea  I  entertain  of  your  knowledge  of 
Accots.,  and  the  hope  that  you  may  answer  my  purposes  in 
other  respects;  I  accede  fully  to  the  terms  of  your  letter,  with 
this  condition  only,  that  in  payment  of  this  sum,  Dollars  shall 
be  estimated  at  four  and  six  pence  Sterling,  and  other  Gold 
and  Silver  coin  (currt.  in  this  country)  in  that  proportion. 
This  is  the  legal  difference  of  exchange  of  it,  and  will  render 
it  unnecessary  for  either  of  us  to  enquire  into  the  rise  or  fall, 
to  ascertain  the  value  of  any  payment. 

I  do  not  request  you  to  come  hither  before  the  time  men- 
tioned in  your  letter;  but  should  be  glad  if  you  would  not 
exceed  it. 

With  esteem  and  regard,  I  am,  etc.49 


Mount  Vernon,  July  8, 1785. 
Sir:  Yesterday  afternoon  I  had  the  honor  to  receive  your 
favor  of  the  24th.  of  June;  covering  a  letter  from  Colo.  Fair- 
fax of  Bath,  dated  in  Mar:  last.  The  latter  speaks  of  the  injuri- 
ous treatment  you  have  met  with,  and  of  the  aspersion  of 
your  character  in  England,  for  which  I  am  exceedingly  sorry; 
but  as  he  draws  no  conclusion,  and  your  letter  is  silent,  I  am  a 
little  at  a  loss  to  discover  the  tendency  of  the  information  of 
them  to  me;  and  therefore  shall  only  add  that  whenever  it 
is  convenient  and  agreeable  to  you  to  come  into  this  part  of 
the  Country,  I  shall  be  glad  to  see  you  at  this  place,  and  that, 
I  am,  etc.49 

'From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  July  9, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  Mr.  Dohrman50  who  does  me  the  honor  of  pre- 
senting this  letter  to  your  Excellency,  is  represented  to  me  as  a 
Gentleman  of  great  merit;  and  one  who  has  rendered  most 
benevolent  and  important  Services  to  the  injured  Sons  of  Amer- 
ica, at  a  period  when  our  Affairs  did  not  wear  the  most  favor- 
able aspect. 

He  has  some  matters  to  lay  before  Congress  which  he  can 
explain  better  than  I.  the  justice  due  to  which,  and  his  suffer- 
ings, need  no  advocate;  but  I  take  the  liberty  nevertheless 
of  introducing  him  to  your  countenance  and  civilities.  With 
great  respect  etc.51 


Mount  Vernon,  July  14, 1785. 

Sir:  Your  letter  of  the' 9th.  of  Feby.  was  long  on  its  passage 
to  me;  but  my  answer  would  not  have  been  delayed  'till  now, 
had  not  much  time  been  spent  in  obtaining  the  several  en- 
closures herewith  sent  you :  a  very  necessary  voucher  however, 
viz:  the  British  King's  proclamation,  properly  authenticated, 
forbiding  the  settlement  of  the  Western  Lands,  in  defiance  of 
which  the  Defendants  took  possession  of  the  Land  which  was 
surveyed  for  military  service,  is  not  yet  come  to  hand,  but 
shall  be  sent  as  soon  as  it  does. 

The  signature  to  Posey's  Bond  has  the  best  proof  of  the 
handwriting  I  can  obtain  without  incurring  much  trouble  and 
expence:  there  are  numbers  in  this  part  of  the  Country,  where 

"Arnold  Henry  Dorham. 

51  From  the  Papers  of  the  Continental  Congress,  no.  78,  vol.  8,  fol.  211. 

1785]  a  LAND  TITLE  DISPUTE  193 

he  formerly  lived,  who  are  well  acquainted  with  his  hand 
writing;  but  these  are  far  removed  from  the  Executive  of  the 
State,  or  any  of  the  judges  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  this  Com- 
monwealth. To  me,  I  confess  the  proof  seems  unnecessary; 
for  in  my  judgment  there  can  be  no  higher  evidence  of  the  au- 
thenticity of  the  Bond,  than  the  recognition  of  it  in  the  Grant 
which,  if  I  mistake  not,  expressly  declares  that  it  is  granted  to 
me  as  Assignee  of  John  Posey;  consequently  this  Government 
must  have  been  satisfied  of  the  legality  of  the  assignment,  and 
such  as  would  warrant  the  Patent  granted  me  thereon. 

I  transmit  you  the  act  of  our  Assembly  passed  in  the  session 
of  1779,  properly  authenticated,  in  which  is  included  all  the 
Law  relative  to  the  present  subject:  in  this  you  will  find  upon 
what  footing  settlement  and  pre-emption  rights  are  placed; 
and  what  are  the  requisites  necessary  for  rendering  them  valid. 
It  is  very  certain  the  Defendants  have  not  taken  those  necessary 
steps  pointed  out  by  the  Law,  in  order  to  give  them  a  title  by 
settlement  or  pre-emption :  they  knew  that  the  Land  had  been 
surveyed  for  me;  that  it  was  always  called  mine;  that  one 
Cabbin  if  no  more  was  built  upon  it  when  they  came  there, 
and  they  were  repeatedly  forwarned  from  settling  themselves 
there  during  the  life  of  Mr.  Crawford.  Being  thus  apprized 
that  their  claim  was  contested,  they  should  have  submitted 
it  to  the  decision  of  the  Commissioners  sent  out  to  that  Coun- 
try for  the  special  purpose  of  adjusting  all  such  disputed  titles; 
and  altho'  the  jurisdiction  of  these  Commrs.  only  extended  to 
unpatented  Lands,  yet  such  a  submission  was  necessary  on 
the  part  of  the  Defendants,  that  they  might  obtain  Certificates 
and  act  agreeably  to  the  direction  of  the  Law:  as  they  failed 
to  do  this,  I  conceive  they  have  precluded  themselves  from 
setting  up  a  title  by  occupancy  at  this  day:  I  say  they  failed 


to  make  this  submission;  because  as  I  was  never  summoned  to 
litigate  their  claim,  any  proceeding  therein  without  such  a  proc- 
ess would  have  been  illegal. 

I  expect  that  one  objection  to  my  title  will  be,  that  this  Land 
was  not  surveyed  by  a  County  Surveyor,  but  only  by  one  in- 
vested with  a  special  commission  for  surveying  the  200,000 
acres  which  were  given  as  a  bounty  to  the  1st.  Va.  regiment. 
But  you  will  find  that  my  case  comes  fully  within  the  first 
clause  of  the  Law;  and  as  this  Survey  was  covered  with  a  mili- 
tary warrant,  such  as  is  mentioned  in  the  Act,  no  person  could 
more  legally  have  made  it  than  Mr.  Crawford.   I  will  observe 
here,  that  at  the  time  this  survey  was  returned  to  the  Office, 
Mr.  Crawford  was  Deputy  surveyor  to  Mr.  Lewis.   You  will 
observe  by  a  subsequent  clause  in  the  Law,  that  all  locations 
made  by  Officers  and  Soldiers  upon  the  Lands  of  actual  set- 
tlers, shall  be  void;  but  this  cannot  operate  against  me  for 
several  reasons :  in  the  first  place  it  is  confined  merely  to  Loca- 
tions, and  cannot  extend  to  Patents;  secondly,  admitting  that 
my  survey  was  made  lawfully,  then  it  is  evident  that  instead 
of  being  intruded  upon,  the  Defendants  themselves  were  the 
intruders:  and  thirdly,  setting  my  survey  and  Patent  out  of 
the  question,  I  was  the  prior  occupant  and  entitled  to  at  least 
1400  acres,  admitting  only  one  Cabbin  to  have  been  built; 
altho'  I  believe,  and  Capt.  Crawford  in  letters  which  I  left 
with  you  expressly  declares  it,  there  were  more;  so  that  which- 
ever way  you  view  their  title,  it  appears  to  be  defective.  From 
what  cause  I  know  not,  but  I  believe  Capt.  Posey's  warrant  is 
dated  subsequent  to  the  return  of  the  Survey  made  by  Mr. 
Crawford,  and  if  I  remember  right  the  recital  in  the  Patent 
which  you  have  makes  this  appear;  I  apprize  you  of  this  lest 
any  handle  should  be  made  of  it  by  your  Opponents. 

1785]  TITLE  TO  OHIO  LANDS  195 

The  only  difficulty  which  can  arise  in  the  prosecution  of  the 
ejectments  in  my  conception  (if  my  legal  title  shou'd  be  thought 
insufficient,  which  I  scarcely  think  possible)  is  to  prove  the  ex- 
tent of  my  improvement  before  the  Defendants  took  possession 
of  the  Land,  and  the  warnings  wch.  they  received  afterwards 
to  quit  it. 

Colo.  Crawford  who  transacted  my  business  in  your  County, 
or  his  Brother  Val52  could  have  placed  these  matters  in  a  clear 
point  of  view,  as  I  dare  say  many  others  are  able  to  do,  if  I 
knew  who  to  fix  upon  and  how  to  come  at  them;  but  never 
having  an  idea  that  it  was  necessary,  and  the  removal  of  per- 
sons &c,  may  give  some  trouble. 

To  ease  you  as  much  as  I  am  able  of  this,  I  have  in  a  paper 
enclosed,  put  down  the  ground  and  supports  of  my  title  under 
all  circumstances  as  they  have  occurred  to  me;  and  the  plea 
which  I  suppose  will  be  urged  in  behalf  of  my  Opponents  in 
opposition  thereto. 

I  feel  myself  under  great  obligation  to  Mr. Wilson53  for  sig- 
nifying a  readiness  to  serve  me  in  this  suit,  because  I  am  satis- 
fied motives  of  friendship  more  than  of  interest  were  at  the 
bottom.  His  attendance  in  Congress  must  now  render  this 
impracticable  if  it  were  ever  so  necessary;  but  to  me  the  case 
seems  so  clear  and  self  evident,  that  I  think  nothing  more  is 
necessary  but  to  state  facts:  however,  as  you  understand  the 
decision  of  your  Courts  better  than  I  do,  I  leave  it  wholly  to 
yourself  to  call  in  assistance  or  not,  and  from  whom  you  please. 
I  should  be  glad  to  know  when  you  think  the  cause  will  come 
to  issue:  if  I  could  be  morally  certain  of  the  time  and  nothing 
of  greater  importance  should  happen  to  prevent  it,  I  would 
be  in  the  Western  Country  at  that  time.  I  am,  etc. 

62 Valentine  Crawford. 
53  James  Wilson. 


P.  S:  Since  writing  the  above  I  have  received  an  attested 
Copy  of  the  Proclamation  alluded  to  in  the  body  of  this  letter, 
which  with  the  letter  enclosing  it,  from  our  Attoy.  General, 
I  send.  On  a  cursory  reading  of  it,  (for  I  was  obliged  to 
enclose  it  almost  in  the  same  instant  I  received  it)  it  may 
be  doubted,  I  think,  whether  military  Locations  beyond  the 
sources  of  the  rivers  running  into  the  Atlantic,  do  not  come 
under  the  general  restrictions:  to  remove  this  objection,  if 
it  should  be  made,  I  will  endeavor  to  obtain  an  attested  copy 
of  an  order  of  the  Governor  and  Council  of  this  Dominion, 
recognizing  the  right  of  the  Troops  of  this  State,  to  Lands  under 
the  aforesaid  Proclamation;  and  directing  surveys  thereof  to 
be  made  on  the  Western  Waters;  tho'  I  fear  it  will  be  diffi- 
cult to  come  at,  as  I  have  understood  that  the  records  of  the 
privy  Council  had  fallen  into  the  hands  of  the  Enemy,  or  were 
otherwise  lost.54 


Mount  Vernon,  July  14, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  Mr.  Fraunces's56  letters  to  you  and  to  me,  the  last 
of  which  I  also  enclose  for  your  perusal,  are  so  expressive  of  his 
want  as  to  render  it  unnecessary  for  me  to  add  ought,  on  the 
occasion  of  them. 

He  has  been  considered  (tho'  confined  within  the  british 
lines)  as  a  friend  to  our  cause:  It  is  said  he  was  remarkably  at- 
tentative  to  our  prisoners  in  the  City  of  New  York;  supporting 
them,  as  far  as  his  means  would  allow,  in  the  hour  of  their 

54 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

55 Member  of  the  Virginia  House  of  Delegates  from  1782  to  1786  and  from  1799  to 
1801;  Member  of  Congress  from  1789  to  1793;  one  of  the  Board  of  Commissioners 
for  the  District  of  Columbia  from  1795  to  the  abolition  of  the  Board  in  1802. 

M  Samuel  Fraunces. 


greatest  distress:  this  it  is  which  lead  both  Governor  Clinton 
and  myself  to  countenance  and  support  him;  and  is  the  cause  I 
presume  of  his  applying,  thro'  me,  to  you,  and  must  be  my 
apology  for  giving  you  the  trouble  of  this  letter. 

With  respect  to  his  demand  against  the  Estate  of  Genl.  Lee, 
I  know  nothing;  his  letter,  to  the  best  of  my  recollection,  is  the 
first  intimation  I  ever  had  of  his  being  a  Creditor;  die  propriety 
and  justice  therefore  of  the  claim  must  speak  for  themselves, 
and  will  no  doubt  have  their  due  weight:  the  time  of  payment 
seems  interesting  to  him. 

The  subject  of  this  letter  reminds  me  of  an  accot.  of  my  own 
against  Genl.  Lee's  Estate,  which  I  put  into  your  hands  at  the 
Springs  last  year.57  With  great  esteem  I  am,  etc.58 


Mount  Vernon,  July  14, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  Your  favor  of  the  4th.  came  to  me  on  the  12th:  at 
the  time  of  writing  it  you  could  not  have  received  my  letter 
dated  in  the  latter  part  of  June,  covering  one  for  Richard  Boul- 
ton;  not  knowing  how,  otherwise,  to  get  one  to  him,  I  took  the 
liberty  of  addressing  it  to  your  care. 

In  that  letter  I  informed  him,  that  if  he  did  not  immedi- 
ately enter  upon  the  execution  of  his  Contract,  I  would  put 
the  penalty  thereof  in  force:  but  from  the  abandoned  course 
in  which  he  seems  to  have  engaged,  from  your  last  letter;  and 

" In  Washington's  "Ledger  B"  is  the  following  account  against  Gen.  Charles  Lee: 
"J775»  Jan-  4-  To  Cash  lent  him  at  Mt  Vernon  ^15.  June.  To  Ditto  lent  him  on 
the  Road  from  Phila.  to  Cambridge,  at  different  times,  viz.  6  Guineas  &  4  dollars 
9:12 — .  1786,  Deer.  28.  By  Cash  reed  of  Alexr  White  Esqr.  Exr.  to  Genl  Lee  by  the 
hands  of  Mr.  Lear  24: 12: — " 

58 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

BeOf  Patuxent,  Md. 


his  unwillingness  to  forsake  his  associates  in  drunkeness,  I 
do  not  choose  (altho'  the  disappointment  occasions  me  the 
loss  of  a  summer)  to  be  concerned  with  him,  lest  his  bad 
example  should  have  an  unfavorable  influence  upon  my  work- 
men, of  which  I  have  several.  I  beg  therefore,  if  my  letter  to 
him  has  not  been  forwarded,  that  you  would  be  so  obliging  as 
to  destroy  it. 

As  I  am  not  in  immediate  want  of  the  Articles  which  you 
were  so  good  as  to  offer  me,  I  had  rather  take  the  chance  of  a 
water  conveyance  round,  than  to  send  my  waggon  to  Colo. 
Platers:  but  as  this  may  not  happen  soon,  and  it  is  unreason- 
able to  keep  you  out  of  the  cost  of  them ;  if  you  will  ascertain  the 
quantity  and  price  of  such  as  you  can  best  spare,  I  will  pay 
the  amount  to  your  order  at  any  time.  The  brass-spring  Locks 
and  hinges,  and  any  other  hinges,  the  mortice  locks  and  furni- 
ture, the  Glue,  and  Painters  brushes,  or  such  part  of  each  as  you 
can  most  conveniently  dispense  with,  may  be  added  to  my 
former  list. 

The  Guinea-grass  seeds  which  I  sowed  proved  as  defective 
as  yours;  but  my  nephew  who  arrived  after  I  had  the  pleasure 
of  your  company  at  this  place,  brought  me  a  small  quantity 
from  Bermuda,  some  of  which  I  sowed  and  part  has  vegitated: 
if  it  prospers  and  is  worth  cultivating,  I  will  supply  you  with  a 
little  of  it  to  put  you  in  stock,  he  speaks  of  it  in  very  favourable 
terms,  but  is  doubtful  of  the  Climate. 

Mrs.  Washington  joins  in  complimts.  and  best  wishes  for 
Mrs.  Fitzhugh  and  yourself  with  Dr.  Sir,  &c. 

P:  S:  I  address  this  letter  to  you  at  Annapolis  in  consequence 
of  the  information  of  your  intention  to  be  there  about  the  mid- 
dle of  this  month.60 

'From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  OHIO  LANDS  199 


Mount  Vernon,  July  15, 1785. 

Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  22d.  of  June  came  safely  to  hand. 

I  have  no  Lands  in  the  Western  Country  which  I  incline, 
at  this  time,  to  make  actual  sale  of.  Between  the  two  Kan- 
hawa's  on  the  banks  of  the  Ohio,  I  hold  (bounded  by  the 
river,  and  of  rich  bottom  with  good  Mill  Seats)  about  10,000 
acres  of  as  valuable  land  as  any  in  that  region:  and  on  the 
Gt.  Kanhawa,  from  near  the  mouth  upwards,  I  have  about 
30,000  acres  more  of  equal  quality  with  the  first  mentioned; 
all  of  which  I  have  offered  on  Leases,  for  21,  999,  or  10  years, 
renewable  forever,  on  encreasing  rents;  on  certain  conditions 
which  were  published  in  Claypoole's  paper  in  March  or  April 
of  last  year,  and  may  easily  be  resorted  to. 

As  I  have  not  disposed  of  these  lands  yet,  I  presume  the 
terms  are  thought  too  high;  but  as  I  know  the  situation  and 
convenience  of  them,  and  that  the  quality  of  the  soil  is  in- 
ferior to  none  in  all  the  Western  Territory,  I  do  not  incline 
to  make  any  change  in  my  terms,  unless  I  am,  in  a  manner 
compelled  to  it  by  taxation,  which  (however  inconvenient  it 
may  be  to  myself)  I  wish  to  see  heavily  laid  on,  that  the  offi- 
cers and  Soldiers,  and  other  public  creditors  may  receive  their 
just  dues.  I  am,  etc.61 


Mount  Vernon,  July  17, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  By  Mr.  Gouverr.  Morris  I  sent  you  the  amount  of 
the  cost  of  plank,  which  you  were  so  obliging  as  to  send  me 
from  Baltimore. 

'From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


The  packet02  enclosed  with  this,  for  Mr.  Hilligas63  contains 
necessary  and  valuable  papers  for  Mr.  Thos.  Smith,  in  a  suit 
I  have  been  obliged  to  commence  in  Washington  County, 
State  of  Pennsylva.,  against  sundry  persons  who  taking  ad- 
vantage of  my  absence  and  peculiar  situation  during  the  War, 
possessed  themselves  of  a  tract  of  Land  I  hold  in  the  vicinity 
of  Fort  Pitt;  for  which  I  have  a  Patent,  obtained  in  legal  form, 
ever  since  the  year  1774,  and  for  which  I  am  now  compelled 
to  bring  ejectmts. 

Mr.  Smith  requested  these  papers  to  be  sent  to  him  under 
cover  to  Mr.  Hilligas  as  a  certain  mode  of  conveyance;  but 
as  much  time  has  elapsed  in  obtaining  them;  as  some  of  the 
papers  point  to  evidence  which  may  not  readily  be  come  at; 
as  the  Suit  may  come  forward  at  the  Septr.  term,  and  as  the 
channel  of  conveyance  pointed  out  by  him  is  very  circuitous; 
I  should  be  much  obliged,  if  good  opportunities  frequently 
offer  from  Baltimore  to  Carlisle,  by  your  stripping  off  the  ad- 
dress to  Mr.  Hilligas,  and  forwarding  the  enclosure  as  directed 
to  Mr.  Smith.  With  much  truth  and  sincerity,  I  am,  etc.64 


Mount  Vernon,  July  19,  1785. 
Sir:  The  honor  which  the  Society  for  promoting  agricul- 
ture, lately  established  in  the  City  of  Philada.,  has  done  me  by 
electing  me  an  honorary  member,  is  highly  pleasing  and  flat- 
tering to  me;  the  strongest  assurances  of  which  I  pray  you, 

02  On  July  17  Washington  wrote  briefly  to  Michael  Hillegas,  a  copy  of  which  letter 
is  in  the  "Letter  Book,"  asking  him  to  forward  this  packet  of  papers  to  Thomas  Smith. 
63  Michael  Hillegas. 
64 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


at  the  next  meeting,  to  communicate  with  my  respectful  com- 
pliments to  the  Society.  Accept  at  the  same  time  Sir,  my  ac- 
knowledgment of  the  flattering  expression,  with  which  you 
have  accompanied  the  certificate  of  my  election. 

No  measure,  in  my  opinion,  will  be  more  conducive  to  the 
public  weal  than  the  establishment  of  this  Society,  if  the  pur- 
poses of  it  are  prosecuted  with  spirit.  Much  is  it  to  be  wished 
that  each  State  would  institute  similar  ones;  and  that  these 
Societies  when  formed  would  correspond  regularly  and  freely 
with  each  other.  We  are  not  only  in  our  infancy  of  agricul- 
ture improvement,  but  in  this  State  the  farmers  are  pursuing 
an  unprofitable  course  of  Crops,  to  the  utter  destruction  of 
their  Lands. 

I  am  obliged  to  the  Society  for  its  address  to  the  public,  and 
for  the  summary  of  a  course  of  crops  by  Mr.  Bordely  :65  the  lat- 
ter I  had  before  received  from  the  Author,  who  was  so  obliging 
as  to  send  me  several  copies  immediately  after  the  publication 
thereof.  I  have  the  honor,  etc.68 


Mount  Vernon,  July  23, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  It  is  some  time  since  I  received  the  enclosed  Bill, 
under  cover  from  the  Drawer:  among  a  multiplicity  of  other 
letters  it  got  buried  and  forgot;  until  a  line  from  Mr.  de  Mar- 
bois  the  other  day,  forwarding  the  third  bill  of  same  tenor  and 
date,  reminded  me  of  it. 

As  I  do  not  know  who  the  Treasurer  of  the  Society  of  the 
Cincinnati  of  this  State  is,  I  take  the  liberty  of  committing  the 

^BealeC?)  Boardly,  of  Wye,  Md. 
From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


Bill  to  your  care,  with  a  request  that  you  would  be  so  obliging 
as  to  ask  him  personally  if  he  is  near  you,  or  by  letter  if  he  is 
at  a  distance,  for  a  receipt  for  it,  that  I  may  transmit  the  same 
to  Colo.  De  Corney,  with  an  apology  for  my  long  silence. 
If  I  knew  who  the  state  Treasurer  is,  I  would  not  give  you  any 
trouble  in  this  business;  but  as  I  really  do  not,  I  hope  it  will 
be  received  as  an  excuse  for  having  done  it.  I  am,  etc.07 


Mount  Vernon,  July  25, 1785. 

My  dr.  Humphreys:  Since  my  last  to  you,  I  have  received 
your  letter  of  the  15th.  of  January,  and  I  believe  that  of  the 
nth.  of  November,  and  thank  you  for  them.68  It  always  gives 
me  pleasure  to  hear  from  you;  and  I  should  think  if  amuse- 
ments would  spare  you,  business  could  not  so  much  absorb  your 
time  as  to  prevent  your  writing  more  frequently,  especially  as 
there  is  a  regular  conveyance  once  a  month  by  the  Packet. 

As  the  complexion  of  European  politics  seems  now  (from 
letters  I  have  received  from  the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette,  Chevrs. 
Chartellux,  De  la  Luzerne,  &c.,)  to  have  a  tendency  to  Peace, 
I  will  say  nothing  of  war,  nor  make  any  animadversions  upon 
the  contending  powers;  otherwise,  I  might  possibly  have  said 
that  the  retreat  from  it  seemed  impossible  after  the  explicit 
declaration  of  the  parties:  My  first  wish  is  to  see  this  plague  to 
mankind  banished  from  off  the  Earth,  and  the  sons  and  Daugh- 
ters of  this  world  employed  in  more  pleasing  and  innocent 
amusements,  than  in  preparing  implements  and  exercising 
them  for  the  destruction  of  mankind :  rather  than  quarrel  about 

07 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
08  Humphreys  was  then  in  Paris. 

1785]  COMMENTARIES  203 

territory  let  the  poor,  the  needy  and  oppressed  of  the  Earth,  and 
those  who  want  Land,  resort  to  the  fertile  plains  of  our  western 
country,  the  second69  Promise,  and  there  dwell  in  peace,  ful- 
filling the  first  and  great  commandment. 

In  a  former  letter,  I  informed  you  my  Dr.  Humphreys,  that 
if  I  had  talents  for  it,  I  have  not  leisure  to  turn  my  thoughts  to 
commentaries:  a  consciousness  of  a  defective  education,  and  a 
certainty  of  the  want  of  time,  unfit  me  for  such  an  undertak- 
ing; what  with  company,  letters  and  other  matters,  many  of 
them  quite  extraneous,  I  have  not  been  able  to  arrange  my  own 
private  concerns  so  as  to  rescue  them  from  that  disorder'd  state 
into  which  they  have  been  thrown  by  the  war,  and  to  do  which 
is  become  absolutely  necessary  for  my  support,  whilst  I  re- 
main on  this  stage  of  human  action.  The  sentiments  of  your 
last  letter  on  this  subject  gave  me  great  pleasure;  I  should  be 
pleased  indeed  to  see  you  undertake  this  business :  your  abilities 
as  a  writer;  your  discernment  respecting  the  principles  which 
lead  to  the  decision  by  arms;  your  personal  knowledge  of 
many  facts  as  they  occurred  in  the  progress  of  the  War;  your 
disposition  to  justice,  candour  and  impartiality,  and  your  dili- 
gence in  investigating  truth,  combining  fit  you,  when  joined 
with  the  vigor  of  life,  for  this  task;  and  I  should  with  great 
pleasure,  not  only  give  you  the  perusal  of  all  my  papers,  but  any 
oral  information  of  circumstances,  which  cannot  be  obtained 
from  the  former,  that  my  memory  will  furnish:  and  I  can  with 
great  truth  add  that  my  house  would  not  only  be  at  your  service 
during  the  period  of  your  preparing  this  work,  but  (and  with- 
out an  unmeaning  compliment  I  say  it)  I  should  be  exceedingly 
happy  if  you  would  make  it  your  home.  You  might  have  an 
apartment  to  yourself,  in  which  you  could  command  your  own 

69 The  words  "land  of"  inadvertently  omitted  by  the  "Letter  Book"  recorder. 


time;  you  wou'd  be  considered  and  treated  as  one  of  the  family; 
and  meet  with  that  cordial  reception  and  entertainment  which 
are  characteristic  of  the  sincerest  friendship. 

To  reverberate  European  news  would  be  idle,  and  we  have 
little  of  domestic  kind  worthy  of  attention:  We  have  held 
treaties  indeed,  with  the  Indians ;  but  they  were  so  unseason- 
ably delayed,  that  these  people  by  our  last  accounts  from  the 
westward,  are  in  a  discontented  mood,  supposed  by  many  to  be 
instigated  thereto  by  our  late  enemies,  now,  to  be  sure,  fast 
friends;  who  from  any  thing  I  can  learn,  under  the  indefinite 
expression  of  the  treaty  hold,  and  seem  resolved  to  retain  pos- 
session of  our  western  Posts.  Congress  have  also,  after  a  long 
and  tedious  deliberation,  passed  an  ordinance  for  laying  off  the 
Western  Territory  into  States,  and  for  disposing  of  the  land; 
but  in  a  manner  and  on  terms  which  few  people  (in  the  South- 
ern States)  conceive  can  be  accomplished :  Both  sides  are  sure, 
and  the  event  is  appealed  to,  let  time  decide  it.  It  is  however 
to  be  regretted  that  local  politics  and  self-interested  views  ob- 
trude themselves  into  every  measure  of  public  utility:  but  to 
such  characters  be  the  consequences. 

My  attention  is  more  immediately  engaged  in  a  project 
which  I  think  big  with  great  political,  as  well  as  commercial 
consequences  to  these  States,  especially  the  middle  ones:  it  is, 
by  removing  the  obstructions,  and  extending  the  inland  naviga- 
tion of  our  rivers,  to  bring  the  States  on  the  Atlantic  in  close 
connexion  with  those  forming  to  the  westward,  by  a  short  and 
easy  transportation:  without  this,  I  can  easily  conceive  they 
will  have  different  views,  separate  interests  and  other  con- 
nexions. I  may  be  singular  in  my  ideas;  but  they  are  these, 
that  to  open  a  door  to,  and  make  easy  the  way  for  those  Set- 
tlers to  the  westward  (which  ought  to  progress  regularly  and 

1785]  WESTERN  COMMERCE  205 

compactly)  before  we  make  any  stir  about  the  navigation  of 
the  Mississippi,  and  before  our  settlements  are  far  advanced 
towards  that  river,  would  be  our  true  line  of  policy.  It  can, 
I  think,  be  demonstrated,  that  the  produce  of  the  western  Terri- 
tory (if  the  navigations  which  are  now  in  hand  succeed,  and  of 
which  I  have  no  doubt)  as  low  down  the  Ohio  as  the  Great 
Kanhawa,  I  believe  to  the  Falls,  and  between  the  parts  above 
and  the  Lakes,  may  be  brought  either  to  the  highest  shipping 
port  on  this  or  James  river,  at  a  less  expence,  with  more  ease, 
(including  the  return)  and  in  a  much  shorter  time,  than  it  can 
be  carried  to  New  Orleans  if  the  Spaniards  instead  of  restrict- 
ing, were  to  throw  open  their  ports  and  invite  our  trade.  But 
if  the  commerce  of  that  country  should  embrace  this  channel, 
and  connexions  be  formed;  experience  has  taught  us  (and 
there  is  a  very  recent  proof  with  G :  Britain)  how  next  to  im- 
practicable it  is  to  divert  it;  and  if  that  should  be  the  case,  the 
Atlantic  States  (especially  as  those  to  the  westward  will  in  a 
great  degree  fill  with  foreigners)  will  be  no  more  to  the  pres- 
ent union,  except  to  excite  perhaps  very  justly  our  fears,  than 
the  Country  of  California  which  is  still  more  to  the  westward, 
and  belonging  to  another  power. 

Mrs.  Washington  presents  her  compliments  to  you,  and  with 
every  wish  for  your  happiness,  I  am  etc.70 


Mount  Vernon,  July  25, 1785. 
My  Dear  Marquis :  I  have  to  acknowledge  and  thank  you  for 
your  several  favors  of  the  9th.  of  February,  19th.  of  March  and 
16th.  of  April,  with  their  enclosures;  all  of  which  (the  last  only 

From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


yesterday)  have  been  received  since  I  had  the  honor  to  address 
you  in  February. 

I  stand  before  you  as  a  Culprit:  but  to  repent  and  be  for -given 
are  the  precepts  of  Heaven :  I  do  the  former,  do  you  practice  the 
latter,  and  it  will  be  participation  of  a  divine  attribute.  Yet  I 
am  not  barren  of  excuses  for  this  seeming  inattention;  frequent 
absences  from  home,  a  round  of  company  when  at  it,  and  the 
pressure  of  many  matters,  might  be  urged  as  apologies  for  my 
long  silence;  but  I  disclaim  all  of  them,  and  trust  to  the  for- 
bearance of  friendship  and  your  wonted  indulgence:  indeed 
so  few  things  occur,  in  the  line  on  which  I  now  move,  worthy 
of  attention,  that  this  also  might  be  added  to  the  catalogue  of 
my  excuses;  especially  when  I  further  add,  that  one  of  my  let- 
ters, if  it  is  to  be  estimated  according  to  its  length,  would  make 
three  of  yours. 

I  now  congratulate  you,  and  my  heart  does  it  more  effectu- 
ally than  my  pen,  on  your  safe  arrival  at  Paris,  from  your  voy- 
age to  this  Country,  and  on  the  happy  meeting  with  Madame 
la  Fayette  and  your  family  in  good  health.  May  the  blessing 
of  this  long  continue  to  them,  and  may  every  day  add  in- 
crease of  happiness  to  yourself. 

As  the  clouds  which  overspread  your  hemisphere  are  dis- 
persing, and  peace  with  all  its  concomitants  is  dawning  upon 
your  Land,  I  will  banish  the  sound  of  War  from  my  letter:  I 
wish  to  see  the  sons  and  daughters  of  the  world  in  Peace  and 
busily  employed  in  the  more  agreeable  amusement  of  fulfill- 
ing the  first  and  great  commandment,  Increase  and  Multiply: 
as  an  encouragement  to  which  we  have  opened  the  fertile 
plains  of  the  Ohio  to  the  poor,  the  needy  and  the  oppressed  of 
the  Earth;  any  one  therefore  who  is  heavy  laden,  or  who  wants 
land  to  cultivate,  may  repair  thither  and  abound,  as  in  the  Land 
of  promise,  with  milk  and  honey:  the  ways  are  preparing, 

1785]  THE  WEST  AND  THE  EAST  207 

and  the  roads  will  be  made  easy,  thro'  the  channels  of  Potomac 
and  James  river. 

Speaking  of  these  navigations,  I  have  the  pleasure  to  inform 
you  that  the  subscriptions,  (especially  for  the  first)  at  the  sur- 
render of  the  books,  agreeably  to  the  act  which  I  enclosed  you 
in  my  last,  exceeded  my  most  sanguine  expectation:  for  the 
latter,  that  is  James  river,  no  comparison  of  them  has  yet  been 

Of  the  ,£50,000  Sterlg.  required  for  the  Potomac  navigation, 
upwards  of  ,£40,000,  was  subscribed  before  the  middle  of  May, 
and  encreasing  fast.  A  President  and  four  Directors,  consisting 
of  your  hble.  Servant,  Govrs.  Johnson  and  Lee  of  Maryland, 
and  Colo.  Fitzgerald  and  Gilpin  of  this  State,  were  chosen  to 
conduct  the  undertaking.  The  first  dividend  of  the  money  was 
paid  in  on  the  15th.  of  this  month;  and  the  work  is  to  be  begun 
the  first  of  next,  in  those  parts  which  require  least  skill;  leav- 
ing the  more  difficult  'till  an  Engineer  of  abilities  and  practical 
knowledge  can  be  obtained;  which  reminds  me  of  the  question 
which  I  propounded  to  you  in  my  last,  on  this  subject,  and 
on  which  I  should  be  glad  to  learn  your  sentiments.  This  pros- 
pect, if  it  succeeds  and  of  which  I  have  no  doubt,  will  bring  the 
Atlantic  States  and  the  Western  Territory  into  close  connexion, 
and  be  productive  of  very  extensive  commercial  and  political 
consequences;  the  last  of  which  gave  the  spur  to  my  exertions, 
as  I  could  foresee  many,  and  great  mischiefs  which  would  natu- 
rally result  from  a  separation,  and  that  a  separation  would 
inevitably  take  place,  if  the  obstructions  between  the  two  coun- 
tries remained,  and  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  should  be 
made  free. 

Great  Britain,  in  her  commercial  policy  is  acting  the  same 
unwise  part,  with  respect  to  herself,  which  seems  to  have  influ- 
enced all  her  Councils;  and  thereby  is  defeating  her  own  ends: 


the  restriction  of  our  trade,  and  her  heavy  imposts  on  the  staple 
commodities  of  this  Country,  will  I  conceive,  immediately  pro- 
duce powers  in  Congress  to  regulate  the  Trade  of  the  Union; 
which,  more  than  probably  would  not  have  been  obtained 
without  in  half  a  century.  The  mercantile  interests  of  the 
whole  Union  are  endeavouring  to  effect  this,  and  will  no  doubt 
succeed;  they  see  the  necessity  of  a  controuling  power,  and  the 
futility,  indeed  the  absurdity,  of  each  State's  enacting  Laws  for 
this  purpose  independent  of  one  another.  This  will  be  the  case 
also,  after  a  while,  in  all  matters  of  common  concern.  It  is  to 
be  regretted,  I  confess,  that  Democratical  States  must  always 
feel  before  they  can  see:  it  is  this  that  makes  their  Govern- 
ments slow,  but  the  people  will  be  right  at  last. 

Congress  after  long  deliberation,  have  at  length  agreed  upon 
a  mode  for  disposing  of  the  Lands  of  the  United  States  in  the 
Western  territory:  it  may  be  a  good  one,  but  it  does  not  com- 
port with  my  ideas.  The  ordinance  is  long,  and  I  have  none  of 
them  by  me,  or  I  would  send  one  for  your  perusal.  They  seem 
in  this  instance,  as  in  almost  every  other,  to  be  surrendering  the 
little  power  they  have,  to  the  States  individually  which  gave  it 
to  them.  Many  think  the  price  which  they  have  fixed  upon 
the  Lands  too  high;  and  all  to  the  Southward  I  believe,  that 
disposing  of  them  in  Townships,  and  by  square  miles  alter- 
nately, they  will  be  a  great  let  to  the  sale:  but  experience,  to 
which  there  is  an  appeal,  must  decide. 

Soon  after  I  had  written  to  you  in  Feby.,  Mr.  Jefferson,  and 
after  him  Mr.  Carmichael  informed  me  that  in  consequence  of 
an  application  from  Mr.  Harrison71  for  permission  to  export  a 
Jack  for  me  from  Spain,  his  Catholic  Majesty  had  ordered  two 
of  the  first  race  in  his  Kingdom  (lest  an  accident  might  happen 
to  one)  to  be  purchased  and  presented  to  me  as  a  mark  of  his 

"Richard  Harrison.  He  was  a  merchant  of  Cadiz,  Spain. 

1785]  FRENCH  HOUNDS  209 

esteem.  Such  an  instance  of  condescension  and  attention  from 
a  crowned  head  is  very  flattering,  and  lays  me  under  great  obli- 
gation to  the  King;  but  neither  of  them  is  yet  arrived:  these  I 
presume  are  the  two  mentioned  in  your  favor  of  the  16th.  of 
April;  one  as  having  been  shipped  from  Cadiz,  the  other  as 
expected  from  the  Isle  of  Malta,72  which  you  would  forward. 
As  they  have  been  purchased  since  December  last,  I  began  to 
be  apprehensive  of  accidents;  which  I  wish  may  not  be  the  case 
with  respect  to  the  one  from  Cadiz,  if  he  was  actually  shipped 
at  the  time  of  your  account:  should  the  other  pass  thro'  your 
hands  you  cannot  oblige  me  more,  than  by  requiring  the  great- 
est care,  and  most  particular  attention  to  be  paid  to  him.  I 
have  long  endeavoured  to  procure  one  of  a  good  size  and  breed, 
but  had  little  expectation  of  receiving  two  as  a  royal  gift. 

I  am  much  obliged  to  you  my  dear  Marquis,  for  your  atten- 
tion to  the  hounds,  and  not  less  sorry  that  you  should  have  met 
the  smallest  difficulty,  or  experienced  the  least  trouble  in  ob- 
taining them :  I  was  no  way  anxious  about  these,  consequently 
should  have  felt  no  regret,  or  sustained  no  loss  if  you  had  not 
succeeded  in  your  application.  I  have  commissioned  three  or 
four  persons  (among  whom  Colo.  Marshall 73  is  one,)  to  pro- 
cure for  me  in  Kentucke,  for  the  use  of  the  Kings  Garden's  at 
Versailles  or  elsewhere,  the  seeds  mentioned  in  the  list  you 
sent  me  from  New  York,  and  such  others  as  are  curious,  and 
will  forward  them  as  soon  as  they  come  to  my  hands;  which 
cannot  be  'till  after  the  growing  Crop  has  given  its  seeds. 

My  best  wishes  will  accompany  you  to  Potsdam,  and  into 
the  Austrian  Dominions  whenever  you  set  out  upon  that  tour. 
As  an  unobserved  spectator,  I  should  like  to  take  a  peep  at  the 

72The  jack  from  Malta  was  obtained  by  Lafayette  and  was  separate  and  distinct 
from  the  Spanish  jacks. 
,3Thomas(?)  Marshall. 


troops  of  those  Monarch's  at  their  manoeuverings,  upon  a 
grand  field  day;  but  as  it  is  among  the  unattainable  things,  my 
philosophy  shall  supply  the  place  of  curiosity,  and  set  my  mind 
at  ease. 

In  your  favor  of  the  19th.  of  March  you  speak  of  letters 
which  were  sent  by  a  Mr.  Williams;  but  none  such  have  come 
to  hand.  The  present  for  the  little  folks  did  not  arrive  by  Mr. 
Ridouts  Ship  as  you  expected;  to  what  cause  owing  I  know  not. 
Mrs.  Washington  has  but  indifferent  health ;  and  the  late  loss  of 
\ier  mother,  and  only  brother  Mr.  Barthw.  Dandridge  (one 
of  the  Judges  of  our  Supreme  Court)  has  rather  added  to  her 
indisposition.  My  mother  and  friends  enjoy  good  health. 
George  has  returned  after  his  peregrination  thro'  the  West 
Indies,  to  Bermuda,  the  Bahama  Islands,  and  Charlestown;  at 
the  last  place  he  spent  the  winter.  He  is  in  better  health  than 
when  he  set  out,  but  not  quite  recovered:  He  is  now  on  a  jour- 
ney to  the  Sweet  Springs,  to  procure  a  stock  sufficient  to  fit  him 
for  a  matrimonial  voyage  in  the  Frigate  F.  Bassett,  on  board 
which  he  means  to  embark  at  his  return  in  October:  how  far 
his  case  is  desperate,  I  leave  you  to  judge,  if  it  is  so,  the  remedy 
however  pleasing  at  first,  will  certainly  be  violent. 

The  latter  end  of  April  I  had  the  pleasure  to  receive  in  good 
order,  by  a  Ship  from  London,  the  picture  of  yourself,  Madame 
la  Fayette  and  the  children,  which  I  consider  as  an  invaluable 
present,  and  shall  give  it  the  best  place  in  my  House.  Mrs. 
Washington  joins  me  in  respectful  compliments,  and  in  every 
good  wish  for  Madame  de  la  Fayette,  yourself  and  family,  all 
the  others  who  have  come  under  your  kind  notice  present  their 
compliments  to  you.  For  myself,  I  can  only  repeat  the  sincere 
attachment,  and  unbounded  affection  of  My  Dr.  Marqs.,  &c.74 

MFrom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  BLASTING  ROCK  211 


Mount  Vernon,  July  27, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  5th.  came  duly  to  hand,  and 
should  have  been  acknowledged  sooner,  if  it  had  been  in  my 
power,  conveniently.  I  thank  you  for  your  attention  to  the 
Certificates  which  I  committed  to  your  care;  and  will  obtain 
an  order  from  Gilbert  Simpson,  by  which  the  Interest  may  be 
received.  This  money  is  all  I  am  likely  to  get  for  a  Mill  which 
he  ran  me  to  the  Expence  of  ^1200  hard  money  to  build,  near 
Yohiogany,  now  tumbling  down,  and  for  which  I  can  not  get 
a  farthing,  rent.  If  Mr.  Stelle75  has  the  cover,  in  which  the 
Certificates  were  wrapped,  I  should  be  glad  to  have  it  returned 
to  me,  or,  if  there  is  any  thing  within,  useful  to  him,  a  Copy  of 
the  memn.  on  the  back  of  it.  It  is  the  only  minutes  I  took  of  the 
different  Interests  in  the  Certificates,  it  enclosed. 

Since  your  last  conference  with  Messrs.  Dunlap  &  Claypool, 
their  Advertiser  has  come  to  hand  regularly.  I  am  content 
therefore  to  have  it  continued. 

As  you  think  my  small  Commissions  will  not  give  you  more 
trouble  than  they  are  worth,  I  shall,  when  I  find  occasion,  con- 
tinue them  with  pleasure. 

We  expect  to  begin  our  operations  on  the  Potomack  Naviga- 
tion about  the  6th  of  next  Month,  under  the  Management  of  a 
Mr  James  Rumsey.  If  the  Miners  therefore,  who  have  been 
accustomed  to  the  blowing  of  Rocks  under  Water,  are  desirous 
of  employment  in  this  way,  and  are  not  extravagant  in  their 
demands,  I  am  persuaded  he  would  hire  them,  were  they  to 
apply  to  him,  either  at  the  Seneca  falls,  or  the  Falls  of  Shan- 
nondoah;  neither  of  which  are  far  from  Frederick  Town  in 

TO  Benjamin  Stelle. 


Maryland,  or,  if  they  think  the  distance  too  great  to  come  on  an 
uncertainty  if  through  you,  they  will  communicate  to  me  their 
lowest  terms,  I  will  see  that  an  answer  to  them  is  obtained. 
Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  compliments  to,  and  best  wishes 
for  you,  Mrs.  Biddle  and  the  family  and  I  am,  etc.76 


Mount  Vernon,  July  28,  1785. 

Sir:  A  few  days  ago  by  a  Mr.  Hickman,77  who  either  is,  or 
wants  to  be  a  tenant  of  mine  in  Frederick  County.  I  sent  you  a 
dozen  blank  Leases.  The  tract  on  which  he  says  he  is  fixed,  is 
part  of  two  Lots  which  I  purchased  at  the  sale  of  Colo.  George 
Mercer's  Estate,  in  the  year  1774 ;  a  plat  of  which  I  send  you,  that 
the  whole  may  be  arranged  into  four  tenements,  as  conven- 
iently disposed  as  water  &c.  will  admit. 

In  September  last,  whilst  I  was  at  my  brothers  in  Berkeley, 
many  persons  applied  for  this  Land;  but  from  causes  which 
then  existed  I  came  to  no  positive  agreement  with  any;  refer- 
ring them  to  Mr.  Snickers,78  who  was  so  kind  as  to  promise  that 
he  would  fix  matters  for  me  (as  I  was  in  a  hurry  and  could  not 
go  upon  the  Land  myself)  on  the  terms  which,  if  I  recollect 
right,  I  gave  him  in  a  letter.  Some  time  after,  two  men  of  the 
names  of  Winzer 70  and  Beaven,  with  the  letter  enclosed  from 
Mr.  Snickers,  came  here,  and  were  told  that  I  would  com- 
ply with  whatever  agreement  was  made  with  them  by  him. 
Among  other  things  they  said  Mr.  Snickers  had  promised  them 
Leases  for  fourteen  years;  this  I  observed  could  not,  in  my  opin- 
ion, be  the  case,  because  I  had  expressly  named  ten  years  (the 

"This  text  is  from  that  printed  in  a  sales  catalogue  in  1924. 

77  Joseph  Hickman. 

78 Edward  Snickers. 

70  Joseph  Winsor  or  Windsor. 

1785]  LEASES  213 

term  for  which  Mr.  Burwell  let  his  Lands  adjoining),  but  not- 
withstanding if  the  case  was  so,  and  Mr.  Snickers  would  declare 
it,  the  Leases  should  be  filled  up  accordingly:  this  I  repeat,  and 
as  far  as  the  matter  respects  Winzer,  for  it  seems  Beaven  has 
changed  his  mind,  the  other  conditions  endorsed  on  the  back 
of  Mr.  Snickers's  letter  to  me,  are  to  be  granted  him;  he  paying 
all  the  taxes  wch.  may  be  laid  on  the  Land  he  holds. 

However,  as  filling  up  one  Lease  may  be  a  guide  with  respect 
to  the  others,  I  enclose  one  in  the  name  of  Winzer,  with  the 
blank,  as  completely  filled  as  I  can  do  it  under  my  uncertainty 
with  respect  to  the  term  of  years  for  which  he  is  to  have  it,  and 
which  is  to  be  determined  by  Mr.  Snickers;  and  for  want  of 
the  quantity  of  acres  in,  and  a  description  of  the  Lot  which  he 
is  to  have. 

There  are  already  three  Tenants  on  this  tract,  to  whom  you 
may  fill  up  Leases  on  the  same  terms  which  I  have  done  for 
Winzer;  and  whenever  they  will  bring  evidences  to  prove 
them,  I  will  sign  them.  As  Beaven  has  declined  taking  the 
Lot  which  he  agreed  for  first  with  Mr.  Snickers  and  afterwards 
with  me,  you  may  let  it  to  any  good  tenant  who  offers,  upon 
the  terms  on  which  the  others  are  held.  The  three  new  en- 
gaged will  have  rents  to  pay  thereon  the  first  of  next  January. 
It  will  be  necessary  to  take  an  Assignment  of  Mr.  Whitings 
Lease,  before  one  can  be  made  to  Mr.  Airess;80  or  some  instru- 
ment of  writing  by  which  it  will  be  cancelled,  in  order  to  ren- 
der the  new  one  valid;  and  I  hope  payment  of  the  money  due 
on  the  replevy  Bonds  of  the  former  will  not  be  delayed  longer 
than  the  time  mentioned  in  your  last  letter,  viz,  September. 

Having  got  a  Gentleman  to  assist  me  in  my  business;  I  hope 
shortly  to  have  my  Accots.  so  arranged  as  to  be  able  to  send  you 



a  rental  of  what  is  due  to  be  in  London,  Fauquier  and  Berkeley 
Counties.  I  have  a  Lot  in  the  town  and  common  of  Winchester 
of  which,  when  you  have  occasion  to  go  thither,  I  beg  you  to 
enquire  into  the  state  and  condition,  and  give  me  information 
of  what  can  be  made  of  them:  the  one  in  the  Town,  I  believe  a 
Doctr.  McKay  has  something  to  do  with. 

I  would  be  obliged  to  you  for  enquiring  of  Mr.  Wormley's 
manager,  if  he  has  any  good  red  clover  seed  for  sale,  what  quan- 
tity, and  the  price  thereof,  and  let  me  know  the  result  by  the 
first  conveyance  to  Alexandria.  I  am,  etc.81 


Mount  Vernon,  July  30, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  Altho'  it  is  not  my  intention  to  derive  any  pecuni- 
ary advantage  from  the  generous  vote  of  the  Assembly  of  this 
State,  consequent  of  its  gratuitous  gift  of  fifty  shares  in  each  of 
the  navigations  of  the  rivers  Potomac  and  James;  yet,  as  I  con- 
sider these  undertakings  as  of  vast  political  and  commercial 
importance  to  the  States  on  the  Atlantic,  especially  to  those 
nearest  the  centre  of  the  Union,  and  adjoining  the  Western 
Territory,  I  can  let  no  act  of  mine  impede  the  progress  of  the 
work:  I  have  therefore  come  to  the  determination  to  hold 
the  shares  which  the  Treasurer  was  directed  to  subscribe  on  my 
account,  in  trust  for  the  use  and  benefit  of  the  public;  unless 
I  shall  be  able  to  discover,  before  the  meeting  of  the  Assembly, 
that  it  would  be  agreeable  to  it  to  have  the  product  of  the  Sales 
arising  from  these  shares,  applied  as  a  fund  on  which  to  estab- 
lish two  Charity  schools,  one  on  each  river,  for  the  Education 
and  support  of  the  Children  of  the  poor  and  indigent  of  this 

81  From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


Country  who  cannot  afford  to  give  it;  particularly  the  children 
of  those  men  of  this  description,  who  have  fallen  in  defence  of 
the  rights  and  liberties  of  it.  If  the  plans  succeed,  of  which  I 
have  no  doubt,  I  am  sure  it  will  be  a  very  productive  and  en- 
creasing  fund,  and  the  monies  thus  applied  will  be  a  beneficial 

I  am  aware  that  my  non-acceptance  of  these  shares  will  have 
various  motives  ascribed  to  it,  among  which  an  ostentatious 
display  of  disinterestedness,  perhaps  the  charge  of  disrespect 
or  slight  of  the  favors  of  my  Country,  may  lead  the  van:  but 
under  a  consciousness  that  my  conduct  herein  is  not  influenced 
by  considerations  of  this  nature,  and  that  I  shall  act  more  agree- 
ably to  my  own  feelings  and  more  consistent  with  my  early 
declarations,  by  declining  to  accept  them;  I  shall  not  only  hope 
for  indulgence,  but  a  favorable  interpretation  of  my  conduct: 
my  friends,  I  persuade  myself,  will  acquit  me,  the  World  I  hope 
will  judge  charitably. 

Perceiving  by  the  advertisement  of  Messrs.  Cabell,  Buchanan 
and  Southa;  that  half  the  sum  required  by  the  Act,  for  open- 
ing and  extending  the  navigation  of  James  river,  is  subscribed; 
and  the  20th.  of  next  month  appointed  for  the  subscribers  to 
meet  at  Richmond,  I  take  the  liberty  of  giving  you  a  power 
to  act  for  me  on  that  occasion.82  I  would  (having  the  accom- 
plishment of  these  navigations  much  at  heart)  have  attended 
in  person;  but  the  President  and  Directors  of  the  Potomac 
Company  by  their  own  appointment,  are  to  commence  the 
survey  of  this  river  in  the  early  part  of  next  month;  for  which 
purpose  I  shall  leave  home  tomorrow.    Besides  which,  if  the 

^Washington  was  elected  president  of  the  James  River  Navigation  Co.,  but  declined 
to  serve.  A  copy  of  his  power  to  Randolph  to  represent  him  at  the  James  River  meet- 
ing follows  this  letter  in  the  "Letter  Book." 


Ejectments  which  I  have  been  obliged  to  bring  for  my  Land  in 
Pennsylva.  are  to  be  tried  at  the  September  Term,  as  Mr.  Smith, 
my  Lawyer,  conceived  they  would,  and  is  to  inform  me,  I  shall 
find  it  necessary  I  fear,  to  attend  the  trial;  an  intermediate 
journey  therefore,  in  addition,  to  Richmond  would  be  imprac- 
ticable for  me  to  accomplish.    I  am,  etc. 


Mount  Vernon,  July  30, 1785. 
Sir :  I  received  your  letter  of  the  19th.  Instt.83  Being  convinced 
from  the  respectable  characters  whose  names  are  prefixed  to 
your  Grammatical  Institute,  as  well  as  from  the  cursory  exami- 
nation I  have  had  it  in  my  power  to  bestow  on  the  Books,  of 
the  judicious  execution,  and  usefulness  of  the  Work;  it  would 
give  me  pleasure  if  I  could  be  instrumental,  in  any  degree,  to- 
wards the  introduction  of  it  to  public  notice.  But  I  am  a  little 
at  a  loss,  from  the  purport  of  your  letter,  to  decide,  whether  it 
is  your  desire  that  my  name  should  appear  amongst  those  who 
have  already  subscribed  to  the  utility  of  the  Work;  or,  by  intro- 
ducing its  Author  to  some  of  the  first  characters  in  the  South- 
ern States  (under  the  favourable  impression  he  has  made  upon 
me)  to  act  more  remotely.  If  the  first  is  meant,  I  wish  to  de- 
cline it;  because  I  have  not  leizure  to  examine  the  Institute  with 
that  attention  which  ought,  always,  to  precede  a  certificate; 
and  because  I  do  not  think  myself  a  competent  Judge,  if  I  had. 
But  if  the  other  is  your  object,  I  shall  have  great  pleasure  in 
giving  you  Letters  of  recommendation  to  some  of  the  first 
Gentlemen  of  my  Acquaintance  in  Charleston,  or  elsewhere, 
being  Sir  Yr.  etc.  [n.y.p.l.] 

sz  Webster's  letter,  dated  July  18,  1785,  from  Baltimore,  is  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  A    WRIT  217 


Georgetown,84  August  2, 1785. 

Sir:  By  a  letter  which  I  lately  received  from  Mr.  Stoddert,  I 
am  informed  that  you  had  agreed  to  supply  my  nephews 
George  and  Lawrence  Washington  with  such  articles  from 
your  Store  as  their  necessities  might  require.  For  which  I 
thank  you,  and  I  have  no  doubt  of  your  doing  it  upon  good 
terms :  the  amount  of  which  I  hope  will  always  be  ready  when 
called  for.  But  I  have  to  beg  Sir,  that  they  may  not  be  indulged 
in  any  extravagance,  or  with  any  thing  improper;  school  boys 
of  their  size,  and  growing,  should  have  decent,  but  not  expen- 
sive things;  their  inclinations  too  often  prompt  them  to  the 
latter,  which  grows  upon  them  in  proportion  as  they  are  in- 
dulged :  nor  should  they  have  pocket  money  given  them,  unless 
the  necessity  is  apparent  and  the  application  approved  of. 

Any  advance  for  Dancing,  French  &ca.,  which  may  be  di- 
rected by  their  Tutor  Mr.  Balch,  will  be  chearfully  repaid.  I 
am,  etc.85 


Falls  of  Shannondoah,  August  8, 1785. 
Sir:  In  answer  to  your  letter  of  this  date,  I  think  I  may  ven- 
ture to  assure  you  that  no  writ  has  issued  by  order,  or  under  my 

"According  to  his  "Diary,"  Washington  left  Mount  Vernon  early  in  the  morning  of 
August  1  "and,  after  escorting  Fanny  Bassett  to  Alexandria,  I  proceeded  to  Doctr. 
Stuart's  v/here  I  breakfasted;  from  thence  to  George  Town  to  the  Annual  Meeting  of 
the  Potowmack  Company  appointed  to  be  held  at  that  place.  .  .  .  Dined  at  Shuter's 
Tavern  and  lodged  at  Mr.  Oneal's."  Shuter's  was  John  Suter's  Tavern,  and  Bernard 
O'Neale  (O'Neill,  Oneal)  was  one  of  the  stockholders  of  the  Potomac  Company. 

On  August  2  Washington  left  Georgetown  about  10  o'clock  a.  m.,  dined  at 
Thomas  Beall's  Mill,  about  14  miles  from  Georgetown,  and  afterwards  proceeded  to 
Mr.  Goldsborough's,  at  the  head  of  Seneca  Falls.  From  thence  he  went,  on  August  5, 
to  Harper's  Ferry  by  way  of  Frederick,  Md.  On  August  6  he  was  at  Harper's  Ferry, 
and  on  August  10  he  returned  to  Mount  Vernon  at  about  9  o'clock  in  the  evening. 

85 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


authority,  against  the  Exors  and  Security  of  your  deceased 
Father,  for  the  amount  of  a  Bond  passed  by  him  to  Colo.  Tay- 
loe 86  and  myself,  as  Attornies  for  Colo.  George  Mercer  and  his 
Mortgagees,  in  England. 

The  high  Court  of  Chancery  of  this  Commonwealth  decreed 
(I  do  not  at  this  moment  recollect  when)  that  the  Bonds,  and 
other  papers  which  were  in  my  possession  relative  to  this  busi- 
ness (as  my  situation  did  not  admit  of  my  acting,  and  as  I  had 
refused  to  do  so)  should  be  given  up  to  John  Mercer  Esqr., 
which  was  accordingly  done. 

If  under  this  Decree  such  of  the  Bonds  as  were  made  payable 
to  the  Attornies  aforesaid  have  been  put  in  Suit  in  my  name 
as  the  surviving  Attorney;  I  presume  it  is  a  matter  of  course: 
but  how  a  Bond  which  you  say  has  been  discharged,  and  not 
among  the  papers  which  were  surrendered,  should  be  under 
this  predicament,  I  am  not  able  to  inform  you.  I  am,  etc.87 


[Mount  Vernon]  August  13, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  At  the  time  your  letter  from  the  Rocks  was  deliv- 
ered to  me,  I  had  neither  pen,  ink,  paper,  or  a  table  to  write  on 
at  command;  consequently  could  only  verbally  acknowledge 
the  receipt  of  it,  which  I  did  by  Mr.  Wormley:ss  since  my  re- 
turn home  I  have  met  your  other  favor  of  the  29th.  ulto. 

The  great  object,  for  the  accomplishment  of  which  I  wish 
to  see  the  inland  navigation  of  the  rivers  Potomac  and  James 
improved  and  extended,  is  to  connect  the  Western  Territory 
with  the  Atlantic  States;  all  others,  with  me,  are  secondary: 
tho'  I  am  clearly  of  opinion  that  it  will  greatly  increase  our 


87  From  the  "  Letter  Book  "  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

88  Ralph  Wormley. 


commerce,  and  be  an  immense  saving,  in  the  article  of  trans- 
portation, and  draft  cattle,  to  the  Planters  and  Farmers  who  are 
in  a  situation  to  have  the  produce  of  their  labor  water  borne. 

These  being  my  sentiments,  I  wish  to  see  the  undertaking 
progress  equally  in  both  rivers;  and  but  for  my  local  situation, 
and  numerous  avocations,  my  attention  to  each  should  be 
alike:  what  little  I  do  for  the  advancement  of  the  enterprize  in 
this  river,  is  done,  as  it  were  en  passant;  and  because  I  think  the 
difficulties  greater  than  in  the  other,  and  not  because  I  give  it 
the  preference,  for  both  in  my  opinion  have  their  advantages, 
without  much,  if  any  interference  with  each  other.  The  advan- 
tages arising  from  my  patronage  of  either,  is  probably  more 
ideal  than  real;  but  such  as  they  are,  I  wish  them  to  be  thought 
equally  distributed:  my  contribution  to  the  works  shall  be  the 
same.  I  have  already  subscribed  five  shares  to  the  Potomac 
navigation;  and  enclosed  I  give  you  a  power  to  put  my  name 
down  for  five  shares,  to  that  of  James  river. 

With  respect  to  acting  as  President  to  the  Board  of  Directors 
for  that  Company,  it  is  a  delicate  subject  for  me  to  speak  to: 
every  person  who  knows  how  much  my  time  (by  company 
and  other  matters)  is  occupied,  must  also  know  that  it  would 
be  impossible  for  me  to  discharge  the  duties  of  the  office,  as 
they  should  be;  even  here,  where  the  business  for  the  most  part 
is,  and  will  continue  to  be  done  at  Alexandria,  or  George-town 
(eight  miles  further  from  me),  it  was  so  evident  to  me  that  I 
could  not  perform  the  duties  of  President  with  that  diligence 
and  propriety  which  I  thought  necessary,  that  I  wish  to  decline 
it,  but  could  not  get  excused:  How  much  more  would  this  be 
the  case  with  James  river,  where  the  journey  to  it  alone  would 
be  a  work  of  time  and  labour:  and  besides,  let  it  not  be  forgot- 
ten my  Dr.  Sir,  that  tho'  some  of  the  Subscribers  may  wish  to 
see  me  at  the  head  of  the  Board  of  Directors;  yet  there  may  be 


others  who  would  feel  disappointed  and  hurt  if  they  are  over 
looked,  and  this  might  have  an  influence  on  their  connexions. 
I  mention  these  things  to  you  with  the  candour  and  frankness 
of  a  friend,  and  under  the  rose;  after  which  your  own  judg- 
ment and  those  of  your  friends,  must  dictate  for  the  best.  I 
am  persuaded  all  of  us  have  the  same  object  in  view,  and  what 
ever  shall  be  deemed,  by  the  concurrent  voice  of  the  subscribers, 
the  best  means  to  effect  it,  shall  meet  my  hearty  approbation. 

My  last  letter  was  written  to  you  in  such  haste,  that  I  appre- 
hend I  was  not  sufficiently  explicit  to  be  understood.  It  was  not 
my  intention  to  apply  for  a  copy  of  the  Governor's  instructions 
releasing  him  from  the  restriction  of  the  Kings  Proclamation; 
but  for  the  order  of  Council  consequent  thereof,  directing  or 
permitting  Warrants  to  issue  on  military  rights,  agreeably 
thereto:  because  if  the  date  of  this  order  had  been  found  to  be 
antecedent  to  the  occupancy  of  my  adversaries,  it  would  re- 
move them  from  their  grand  Fort,  for  on  possession,  before  I 
took  any  legal  steps,  I  know  they  mean  to  place  their  sole 

The  Patent,  and  thousands  of  Warrants  are  evidences  that 
the  restrictions  respecting  military  settlers  was  taken  off;  but 
they  do  not  ascertain  the  time.  My  Patent,  if  I  recollect  right, 
was  dated  in  July,  1774;  but  the  occupants,  according  to  their 
own  accounts,  possessed  the  Land  in  the  Octobr.  preceding; 
if  therefore  I  could  have  obtained  a  Certificate  of  the  loss  of  the 
Council  Books;  and  any  circumstance  could  have  been  rec- 
ollected by  which  it  should  appear  (as  unquestionably  the 
fact  is)  that  the  recognition  of  military  rights  was  previous  to 
October  1773,  and  so  intimated  in  the  Certificate  aforesaid;  it 
would  have  been  useful:  Without  this  indeed,  the  matter  is  so 
clear,  in  my  judgment,  as  not  to  admit  of  dispute  before  an 
impartial  Jury;  but  an  impartial  Jury  I  do  not  expect,  and  much 


FAWNS  221 

less  since  I  have  heard  that  the  high  Sheriff  of  the  County 
(lately  chosen)  is  of  the  fraternity  of  my  competitors,  and  in- 
terested in  the  decision,  so  far  at  least  as  similar  circumstances, 
and  the  suffrages  of  these  people  in  his  election,  can  bias  him. 
Indeed  I  have  lately  been  told  that  the  decision  of  this  case  will 
be  interesting  to  numbers  whose  rights  are  disputed  on  similar 
grounds.  I  am,  &c.89 


Mount  Vernon,  August  15, 1785. 

Sir:  The  enclosed  came  under  cover  to  me:  I  send  it  to  you, 
and  beg  it  may  be  executed  and  returned  in  time. 

Captn.  Jacobs  married  the  widow  of  Captn.  Michael  Cresap; 
which,  if  it  was  a  fact  unknown  to  you  before,  is  given  as  a  clue 
by  which  you  may  come  at  the  parties,  and  serve  the  summons. 
I  am,  etc.89 


Mount  Vernon,  August  17, 1785. 

Sir:  The  enclosed  from  Mr.  Dulaney  did  not  come  to  my 
hands  (being  from  home)  until  Sunday  last.  I  thank  you  for 
your  obliging  offer  of  two  or  three  Fawns ;  but  presuming  the 
season  is  now  too  far  advanced  either  to  catch  or  gentle  them,  I 
will  not  send  before  I  hear  further  from  you  on  this  subject. 

If  it  is  too  late  to  obtain  them  this  year,  I  would  thank  you  for 
the  like  number  next  Spring;  by  which  time  I  shall  have  a 
proper  inclosure  for  them,  and  for  the  Deer  of  this  Country,  of 
which  I  am  also  endeavouring  to  procure  a  stock  to  breed  from. 

With  compliments  to  Mrs.  Ogle,  I  have  the  honor,  etc.89 

80 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  August  17, 1785c 

Dear  Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  8th.  came  safely  by  last  Post.  I 
will,  the  first  time  I  go  to  Alexandria,  get  an  order  from  Colo. 
Hooe,  Mr.  Hartshorne,  or  some  other  who  has  dealings  in 
Philadelphia  (for  I  have  none,  and  know  of  no  direct  and  safe 
opportunity  of  sending  money)  to  the  amount  of  the  Sum 
which  you  have  lately  paid  on  my  Acct.  to  Mr.  Boudinot. 

The  inclosed  is  to  Edward  (I  do  not  know  his  Sirname)90 
who  formerly  lived  with  Mr. R.Morris, but  now, I  am  informed, 
keeps  the  City  Tavern,  to  see  if  he  can  be  instrumental  in  pro- 
curing me  a  House  keeper.  I  beg  you  to  be  so  obliging  as  to 
direct,  deliver,  and  consult  him  on  the  contents  of  the  letter, 
which  is  left  open  for  your  perusal,  and  return  me  an  answr. 
as  soon  as  possible. 

The  man  who  at  present  lives  with  me  in  the  capacity  of  a 
Housekeeper  (and  is  a  very  good  one)  is  bound  for  the  port  of 
Matrimony,  and  will,  after  4  or  5  Weeks  which  he  has  agreed 
to  stay,  leave  me  in  a  very  disagreeable  Situation  if  I  cannot  get 
supplied  in  the  meanwhile.  I  give  him  ^25  this  Curry,  pr. 
Ann.  and  a  suit  of  Clothes  which  cannt.  be  less  than  Seven 
pounds  more,  these,  with  the  difference  of  Exchange,  will  be 
equal  to  abt.  ^40  pensa.  Cury.  This  Sum  I  am  willing  to  give 
to  Man,  or  Woman  (the  former  I  would  prefer)  of  good  char- 
acter, and  really  knowing  and  competent  to  my  purposes. 

I  have  seen  an  Advertisement  in  some  of  the  Philadelphia 
Papers  of  an  Office  for  this  kind  of  business,  but  however  good 
it  may  be  as  a  channel  for  enquiry  I  would  not  depend  upon  it, 
without  other  testimonials  respecting  the  character  and  abil- 
ities of  an  applicant  for  the  final  adoption.  Mrs.  Washington 

90  Edward  Moyston. 

1785]  CINCINNATI  CHINA  223 

joins  me  in  best  wishes  for  yourself,  and  Mrs.  Biddle  and 
family.  I  am  etc. 

PS.  Since  writing  the  foregoing,  I  have  met  with,  and  now 
inclose  you,  a  bank  note  for  30  dollars;  which  please  to  receive, 
and  carry  to  my  credit.  [h.s.p.] 


Mount  Vernon,  August  17, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  The  Baltimore  Advertiser  of  the  12th.  Instt.  an- 
nounces the  arrival  of  a  Ship  at  that  Port,  immediately  from 
China;  and  by  an  advertisement  in  the  same  Paper,  I  perceive 
that  the  Cargo  is  to  be  sold  at  public  Vendue,  on  the  first  of 
Octr.  next. 

At  what  prices  the  enumerated  articles  will  sell,  or  the  terms 
proposed,  can  only  be  known  from  the  experiment;  but  if  the 
quantity  at  Market  is  great,  and  they  should  sell  as  goods  have 
Sold  at  Vendue,  bargains  may  be  expected.  I  therefore  take  the 
liberty  of  requesting  the  favor  of  you,  in  that  case,  to  purchase 
the  several  things  contained  in  the  inclosed  list.91 

You  will  readily  perceive,  My  dear  Sir,  my  purchasing,  or 
not,  depends  entirely  upon  the  prices.  If  great  bargains  are  to 
be  had,  I  would  supply  myself  agreeably  to  the  list.  If  the 

"This  list,  in  Washington's  writing,  was  inclosed  in  his  letter  to  Tilghman.  It  called 
for  the  purchase  of  the  following  articles.  Those  "marked  in  the  Margin  of  the  In- 
voice" were  so  marked  with  a  star: 
A  Sett  of  the  best  Nankin  Table  China 
Ditto,  best  Evening  China  Cups  and  Saucers 
*A  set  of  large  blue  and  White  China  Dishes,  say  half 

a  dozn.,  more  or  less  / 

*i  Dozn.  small  bowls,  blue  and  white. 

*6  Wash  hand  Guglets  and  Basons 
6  large  Mugs,  or  3  Mugs  and  3  Jugs. 
A  Quartr.  Chest,  best  Hyson  Tea.  A  Leagure  of  Battavia  Arrack  if  a  Leagure  is  not 
large.  About  13  yds.  of  good  bla:  Paduasoy.  *A  ps.  of  fine  Muslin,  plain.  *i  ps.  of 
Silk  Handkerchiefs.  12  ps.  of  the  best  Nankeens.  18  ps.  of  the  second  quality,  or 
coursest  kind,  for  Servants. 

With  the  badge  of  the  Society 
of  the  Cincinnati,  if  to  be  had. 


prices  do  not  fall  below  a  cheap  retail  Sale,  I  would  decline 
them  altogether,  or  take  such  articles  only  (if  cheaper  than 
common)  as  are  marked  in  the  Margin  of  the  Invoice. 

Before  October,  if  none  of  these  Goods  are  previously  sold, 
and  if  they  are  the  matter  will  be  ascertained  thereby,  you  will 
be  able  to  form  a  judgment  of  the  prices  they  will  command 
at  Vendue.  Upon  information  of  which,  I  will  deposit  money 
in  your  hands  to  comply  with  the  terms  of  the  Sale. 

Since  I  began  this  letter,  I  have  been  informed  that  good 
India  Nankeens  are  selling  at  Dumfries  (not  far  from  me)  at 
7/6  a  ps.  this  Curry.  But  if  my  memory  has  not  failed  me,  I 
used  to  import  them  before  the  War  for  about  5/  Sterlg.  If  so, 
though  50  pr  Ct.  is  a  small  advance  upon  India  Goods,  through 
a  British  Channel,  (with  the  duties  and  accumulated  charges 
thereon)  yet,  quaere  would  not  7/6  be  a  high  price  for  Nan- 
keens brought  immediately  from  India,  exempted  from  such 
duties  and  Charges  ? 

If  this  is  a  conjecture  founded  in  fairness,  it  will  give  my 
ideas  of  the  prices  of  other  Articles  from  that  Country,  and  be 
a  government  for  your  conduct  therein,  at,  or  before  the  day 
appointed  for  the  public  Vendue,  with  the  highest  esteem  and 
regard  I  am  etc.  C  h.  s.  p.  ] 


Mount  Vernon,  August  20, 1785. 
Sir:  By  the  return  of  the  Brig  I  was  favored  with  your  letter 
of  the  1st.  of  May,  with  several  cases  of  wine,  and  a  box  of 
sundries  which  came  to  hand  in  good  order,  and  I  presume  are 
of  good  quality;  as  the  wine  which  you  sent  to  others  is,  I 
am  informed,  much  esteemed,  my  own  I  have  not  tasted.  I  am 
obliged  to  you  for  sending  these  things,  the  amount  shall  be 
paid  to  Colo.  Geo:  Fitzgerald  in  a  short  time. 

1785]  WINE  AND  WALNUTS  225 

For  your  care  of  the  enclosed  letters,  I  will  thank  you :  the  one 
under  a  blank  cover  I  shall  be  obliged  to  you  for  giving  the 
proper  address  of  the  Father  of  Baron  de  Montesquieu;  from 
whom  I  received  a  letter,92  but  under  such  a  signature  as  leaves 
me  at  a  loss  how  to  direct  my  answer  to  him.  If  my  letter  to 
the  Baron  is  like  to  subserve  the  purpose  for  which  it  was  in- 
tended, it  will  give  me  pleasure. 

The  small  packages  which  the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette  intended 
to  send  by  your  Brig,  must,  I  presume,  have  miscarried  between 
Paris  and  Bourdeau,  as  his  letters  to  me  speak  positively  as  to 
their  being  sent  from  the  former  place.  I  am,  etc.93 


Mount  Vernon,  August  20, 1785. 

Sir:  By  a  brig  belonging  to  Mr.  Ridout  of  Bourdeaux,  I  had 
the  honor  to  receive  your  letter  of  the  2d.  of  May  and  the  Wine 
which  accompanied  it;  which  you  were  so  obliging  as  to  send 
me  at  the  request  of  your  worthy  son,  it  came  in  very  good 
order.  For  this  instance  of  his  kind  remembrance  and  your 
polite  attention,  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  warmest  acknowledg- 
ments: my  thanks  are  due  also  in  a  particular  manner  to  you, 
Sir,  for  the  walnuts  you  sent  me,  which  are  very  fine;  and  I 
shall  endeavour  to  propagate  them  in  the  manner  directed  by 

I  pray  you  to  forward,  when  you  shall  find  a  convenient  op- 
portunity, the  enclosed  letter  for  the  Baron  de  Montesquieu, 
with  assurances  of  my  sincere  regard  and  friendship  for  him, 
I  have  the  honor,  etc.93 

82This  letter,  dated  May  2,   1785,  is  in  the  Washington  Papers,  and  is  signed 

83 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  August  20, 1785. 

Sir:  The  receiving  a  letter  from  you  is  pleasing,  the  expres- 
sion of  it  is  flattering;  and  for  the  valuable  testimony  of  your 
recollection  of  me,  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  warmest  acknowl- 

The  bare  intimation  of  your  once  more  making  a  visit  to  the 
Land,  to  the  liberties  of  which  your  sword  has  contributed,  is 
flattering,  and  should  you  realize  it,  I  hope  you  will  consider 
my  seat  as  your  head  quarters  whilst  you  remain  in  the  United 
States,  I  can  assure  you,  you  would  no  where  meet  with  a  more 
cordial  reception,  or  give  more  pleasure,  as  I  have  ever  had  a 
high  esteem  and  regard  for  you :  but  whether  in  this  town,  or 
any  other  to  which  you  may  be  called  by  duty  or  inclination, 
my  warmest  wishes  shall  always  attend  you,  being  Dr.  Sir 
Yrs.,  etc.95 


Mount  Vernon,  August  22, 1785. 

Sir:  Thro'  the  hands  of  Mr.  Van  Berkel,  I  had  the  honor  to 
receive  your  letter  of  the  first  of  March. 

It  rests  with  a  General  Meeting  of  the  Society  of  the  Cincin- 
nati to  admit  foreigners  as  honorary  members;  tho'  it  has  been 
done  by  many  of  the  State  Societies,  where  the  subject  proposed 
was  a  resident.  The  general  Meeting  is  triennial,  and  will  not 
assemble  again  before  May  1787;  but  if  my  memory  serves  me, 
there  were  some  particular  reasons  given  at  the  last,  which 
induced  a  resolution  to  suspend  the  further  appointment  of 

w  Charles  Louis  de  Secondat,  Baron  de  Montesquieu,  Marquis  de  La  Brede,  grand- 
son of  the  author  of  "L'Esprit  des  Lois." 

85 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  POWERS  OF  CONGRESS  227 

honorary  members,  as  well  citizens  as  foreigners:  but  if  I 
should  be  mistaken  in  this,  I  shall  have  great  pleasure  in  pro- 
posing you  as  a  member  of  that  body,  which  have  associated 
for  the  purpose,  amongst  others,  of  commemorating  the  great 
events  to  which,  under  providence,  they  owe  the  deliverance  of 
their  country  from  systematic  tyranny. 

With  a  grateful  sense  of  the  flattering  expression  of  your  let- 
ter, and  with  much  esteem  and  regard,  I  have  the  honor,  etc.96 


Mount  Vernon,  August  22, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  first  inst:  came  to  this  place  whilst 
I  was  absent  on  a  tour  up  the  river,  or  an  earlier  acknowledg- 
ment of  it  shou'd  have  been  sent  to  you:  the  inclosure  shall, 
either  by  this  or  the  next  post,  be  sent  to  Dr.  Gordon  for  his 
information,  and  that  justice  may  be  done  to  a  character  so 
deserving  American  gratitude  and  the  pen  of  an  historian,  as 
the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette. 

I  am  very  glad  to  hear  that  Congress  are  relieved  from  the  em- 
barrassment which  originated  with  Longchamp:97  had  the  de- 
mand of  him  been  persisted  in,  it  might  have  involved  very 
serious  consequences;  it  is  better  for  the  Court  of  France  to  be 
a  little  vexed,  than  for  it  to  have  perservered  in  the  demand  of 

As  I  have  ever  been  a  friend  to  adequate  powers  of  Congress, 
without  which  it  is  evident  to  me  we  never  shall  establish  a 

On  August  22  Washington  also  wrote  briefly  to  Van  Berckel,  asking  him  to  for- 
ward this  letter,  a  copy  of  which  is  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

97  Chevalier  Longchamp.  He  had  assaulted  Barbe  Marbois  in  a  street  in  Phila- 
delphia and,  although  arrested,  tried,  found  guilty,  imprisoned,  and  fined  by  the  Penn- 
sylvania courts,  France  demanded  that  he,  as  a  French  subject,  should  be  surrendered 
to  her  and  sent  to  Paris  for  trial.  (See  the  Journals  of  the  Continental  Congress  for 
1784  and  1785. 


national  character,  or  be  considered  as  on  a  respectable  footing 
by  the  powers  of  Europe,  I  am  sorry  I  cannot  agree  with  you  in 
sentiment  not  to  enlarge  them  for  the  regulating  of  commerce. 
I  have  neither  time  nor  abilities  to  enter  into  a  full  discussion 
of  this  subject,  but  it  should  seem  to  me  that  your  arguments 
against  it;  principally,  that  some  States  may  be  more  benefited 
than  others  by  a  commercial  regulation,  apply  to  every  matter 
of  general  utility;  for  can  there  be  a  case  enumerated  in  which 
this  argument  has  not  its  force  in  a  greater  or  less  degree  ?  We 
are  either  a  united  people  under  one  head,  and  for  federal  pur- 
poses; or  we  are  thirteen  independant  sovereignties,  eternally 
counteracting  each  other:  if  the  former,  whatever  such  a  ma- 
jority of  the  States  as  the  Constitution98  points  out,  conceives 
to  be  for  the  benefit  of  the  whole,  should,  in  my  humble  opin- 
ion, be  submitted  to  by  the  minority:  let  the  southern  States 
always  be  represented;  let  them  act  more  in  union;  let  them 
declare  freely  and  boldly  what  is  for  the  interest  of,  and  what 
is  prejudicial  to  their  constituents;  and  there  will,  there  must 
be  an  accommodating  spirit;  in  the  establishment  of  a  naviga- 
tion act,  this  in  a  particular  manner  ought,  and  will  doubtless 
be  attended  to.  If  the  assent  of  nine  (or  as  some  propose,  of 
eleven)  States  is  necessary  to  give  validity  to  a  Commercial 
system;  it  insures  this  measure,  or  it  cannot  be  obtained: 
Wherein  then  lies  the  danger  ?  But  if  your  fears  are  in  danger 
of  being  realized,  cannot  certain  provisos  in  the  ordinance 
guard  against  the  evil  ?  I  see  no  difficulty  in  this,  if  the  south- 
ern Delegates  would  give  their  attendance  in  Congress,  and 
follow  the  example,  if  it  should  be  set  them,  of  hanging  to- 
gether to  counteract  combinations.  I  confess  to  you  candidly, 
that  I  can  foresee  no  evil  greater  than  disunion  than  those 
unreasonable  jealousies  (I  say  unreasonable,  because  I  would 

""The  Articles  of  Confederation, 

1785]  OCEAN  CARRIAGE  229 

have  a  proper  jealousy  always  awake,  and  the  United  States  on 
the  watch  to  prevent  individual  States  from  infracting  the 
constitution  with  impunity)  which  are  continually  poisoning 
our  minds  and  filling  them  with  imaginary  evils  to  the  pre- 
vention of  real  ones. 

As  you  have  asked  the  question,  I  answer,  I  do  not  know 
that  we  can  enter  upon  a  war  of  Imposts  with  Gt :  Britain,  or 
any  other  foreign  power;  but  we  are  certain  that  this  war  has 
been  waged  agst.  us  by  the  former,  professedly  upon  a  belief 
that  we  never  could  unite  in  opposition  to  it;  and  I  believe  there 
is  no  way  of  putting  an  end  to,  or  at  least  of  stopping  the 
encrease  of  it,  but  to  convince  them  of  the  contrary.  Our  trade 
in  all  points  of  view,  is  as  essential  to  G:  B :  as  hers  is  to  us;  and 
she  will  exchange  it  upon  reciprocal  and  liberal  terms,  if  better 
cannot  be  had.  It  can  hardly  be  supposed,  I  think,  that  the 
carrying  business  will  devolve  wholly  on  the  States  you  have 
named,  or  remain  long  with  them  if  it  should ;  for  either  G :  B : 
will  depart  from  her  present  contracted  system;  or  the  policy 
of  the  southern  States  in  framing  the  Act  of  navigation,  or  by 
Laws  passed  by  themselves  individually,  will  devise  ways  and 
means  to  encourage  seaman  for  the  transportation  of  the  prod- 
uct of  their  respective  Countries,  or  for  the  encouragement 
of  ."  But  admitting  the  contrary ;  if  the  Union  is  considered 
as  permanent,  (and  on  this  I  presume  all  superstructures  are 
built)  had  we  not  better  encourage  seamen  among  ourselves, 
with  less  imports,  than  divide  it  with  foreigners,  and  by  in- 
creasing the  amount  of  them,  ruin  our  Merchants  and  greatly 
injuring  the  mass  of  our  Citizens  ? 

To  sum  up  the  whole,  I  foresee,  or  think  I  do  it,  the  many 
advantages  which  will  arise  from  giving  powers  of  this  kind 
to  Congress  (if  a  sufficient  number  of  States  are  required  to 

"Blank  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


exercise  them)  without  any  evil,  save  that  which  may  proceed 
from  inattention,  or  want  of  wisdom  in  the  formation  of  the 
act;  whilst  without  them  we  stand  in  a  ridiculous  point  of  view 
in  the  eyes  of  the  nations  of  the  world  with  whom  we  are 
attempting  to  enter  into  Commercial  treaties,  without  means 
of  carrying  them  into  effect;  who  must  see  and  feel  that  the 
Union,  or  the  States  individually  are  sovereigns  as  best  suits 
their  purposes;  in  a  word,  that  we  are  one  nation  today,  and 
thirteen  to-morrow,  who  will  treat  with  us  on  such  terms? 
But  perhaps  I  have  gone  too  far,  and  therefore  will  only  add 
that  Mrs.  Washington  offers  her  compliments  and  best  wishes 
for  you  and  that  with  great  esteem  etc.1 


Mount  Vernon,  August  22, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  In  my  absence  with  the  Directors  of  the  Potomac 
navigation,  to  examine  the  river  and  fix  a  plan  of  operations, 
your  favor  begun  on  the  23d.  and  ended  the  31st.  of  July  came 
to  this  place.2  I  am  sorry  to  hear  of  your  late  indisposition,  but 
congratulate  you  on  your  recovery;  hoping  the  reestablishment 
of  your  health  may  be  of  long  continuance. 

The  Packet  which  you  were  so  obliging  as  to  send  for  me, 
came  safe;  and  I  thank  you  for  your  care  of  it,  but  for  want  of 
knowledge  of  the  language,  I  can  form  no  opinion  of  my  own 
of  the  Dramatic  performance  of  Monsr.  Serviteur  la  Barbier.3 

1From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

2 Richard  Henry  Lee's  letter  of  July  23,  to  which  this  letter  is  the  reply,  says:  "Is  it 
possible  that  a  plan  can  be  formed  for  issuing  a  large  sum  of  paper  money  by  the  next 
Assembly?  I  do  verily  believe  that  the  greatest  foes  we  have  in  the  world  could  not 
devise  a  more  effectual  plan  for  ruining  Virginia.  I  should  suppose,  that  every  friend 
to  his  country,  every  honest  and  sober  man  would  join  heartily  to  reprobate  so  nefari- 
ous a  plan  of  speculation."    Lee's  letter  is  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

3Le  Barbier,  jr.  His  letter  of  March  4  is  in  the  Washington  Papers,  but  his  drama 
concerning  Captain  Asgill  is  not  now  found  therein.  Barbier  had  also  sent  the 
drama  to  the  President  of  Congress. 


The  current  of  my  information  from  France  is,  that  the  dis- 
pute between  the  Emperor  and  Holland  will  be  accommodated 
without  bloodshed;  but  after  the  explicit  declarations  which 
have  been  made  on  both  sides,  I  do  not  see  how  either  (espe- 
cially the  first)  can  recede  from  their  claims.  To  save  appear- 
ances, and  to  let  the  contending  parties  down  handsomely,  say 
some  of  my  letters,  is  now  the  greatest  difficulty;  but  all  agree 
that  a  spark  may  set  the  whole  in  flames,  indeed,  Bavaria  it  is 
expected  will  do  this. 

It  is  to  be  hoped  that  our  Minister  at  the  Court  of  London 
will  bring  that  Government  to  an  explanation  respecting  the 
Western  Posts,  which  it  still  retains  on  the  American  side 
the  line,  contrary  to  the  spirit,  if  not  the  letter  of  the  Treaty.  My 
opinion  from  the  first,  and  so  I  declared  it,  was  that  these  posts 
would  be  detained  from  us,  as  long  as  they  could  be  held  under 
any  pretence  whatsoever.  I  have  not  changed  it,  tho'  I  wish  for 
cause  to  do  so,  as  it  may  become  a  serious  matter.  However 
singular  the  opinion  may  be,  I  cannot  divest  myself  of  it:  that 
the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi,  at  this  time  ought  to  be  no 
object  with  us:  on  the  contrary  untill  we  have  a  little  time 
allowed  to  open  and  make  easy  the  ways  between  the  Atlantic 
States  and  the  Western  Territory,  the  obstruction  had  better 
remain.  There  is  nothing  which  binds  one  Country  or  one 
State  to  another  but  interest;  without  this  cement  the  Western 
Inhabitants  (who  more  than  probably  will  be  composed  in 
a  great  degree  of  Foreigners)  can  have  no  predilection  for  us; 
and  a  Commercial  connexion  is  the  only  tie  we  can  have  upon 
them.  It  is  clear  to  me  that  the  trade  of  the  Lakes,  and  of  the 
river  Ohio  as  low  as  the  Great  Kanhawa  if  not  to  the  Falls,  may 
be  brought  to  the  Atlantic  ports  easier  and  cheaper,  taking  the 
whole  voyage  together,  than  it  can  be  carried  to  New  Orleans: 
but  once  open  the  door  to  the  latter,  before  the  obstructions  are 


removed  from  the  former,  let  commercial  connexions,  which 
lead  to  others,  be  formed,  and  the  habit  of  that  trade  well  estab- 
lished, and  it  will  be  found  to  be  no  easy  matter  to  divert  it: 
and  vice  versa.  When  the  settlements  are  stronger  and  more 
extended  to  the  westward;  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi 
will  be  an  object  of  importance;  and  we  shall  then  be  able 
(reserving  our  claim)  to  speak  a  more  efficacious  language 
than  policy,  I  think  dictate  at  present. 

I  never  have,  and  I  hope  never  shall,  hear  any  serious  men- 
tion of  a  paper  emission  in  this  State;  yet  such  a  thing  may  be 
in  agitation.  Ignorance  and  design  are  productive  of  much 
mischief:  the  first  are  the  tool  of  the  latter,  and  are  often  set  to 
work  suddenly  and  unexpectedly.  Those  with  whom  I  have 
conversed  on  the  subject  in  this  part  of  the  State,  reprobate  the 
idea  exceedingly. 

We  have  lately  had  the  pleasure  of  Miss  Lee's  and  Miss  Han- 
nah's company  at  this  place;  they  were  both  well  five  days  ago. 
Mrs.  Washington  prays  you  to  accept  her  compliments;  and 
with  sentiments  of  great  respect,  esteem,  and  regard,  I  am,  &c. 

P.  S.  Your  name,  I  well  remember,  stands  among  those  of 
the  subscribers,  for  a  share  in  the  Potomac  navigation.4 


Mount  Vernon,  August  22, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  During  my  tour  up  the  Potomac  River,  with  the 
Directors  to  examine  and  to  form  a  plan  for  opening  and  ex- 
tending the  navigation  of  it,  agreeably  to  the  acts  of  the  Vir- 
ginia and  Maryland  Assemblies,  your  favor  of  the  25th.  came 
to  this  place,  with  the  letters  brought  by  the  son  of  Mr.  Adams5 
from  France;  for  your  care  of  which  I  thank  you.  Appropos, 

'From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
6John  Quincy  Adams. 

1785]  COINAGE  233 

did  you  hear  him  say  anything  of  Hounds  which,  the  Marqs. 
de  la  Fayette  has  written  to  me,  were  committed  to  his  care  ? 6 
If  he  really  brought  them  (and  if  he  did  not  I  am  unable  to 
account  for  the  information)  it  would  have  been  civil  in  the 
young  Gentleman  to  have  dropped  me  a  line  respecting  the  dis- 
posal of  them,  especially  as  war  is  declared  against  the  canine 
species  in  New  York,  and  they  being  strangers,  and  not  having 
formed  any  alliances  for  self-defence,  but  on  the  contrary,  dis- 
tressed and  friendless  may  have  been  exposed  not  only  to  war, 
but  to  pestilence  and  famine  also.  If  you  can  say  any  thing  on 
this  subject  pray  do  so. 

I  thank  you  for  the  several  articles  of  intelligence  contained 
in  your  letter,  and  for  the  propositions  respecting  a  coinage  of 
Gold,  Silver  and  Copper;  a  measure  which  in  my  opinion  is 
become  indispensably  necessary :  Mr.  Jefferson's  ideas  upon  this 
subject  are  plain  and  simple;  well  adapted,  I  think,  to  the  na- 
ture of  the  case,  as  he  has  exemplified  by  the  plan.7  Without  a 
Coinage,  or  without  some  stop  can  be  put  to  the  cutting  and 
clipping  of  money;  our  Dollars,  pistareens  &c.  will  be  con- 
verted (as  Teague  says)  into  five  quarters;  and  a  man  must 
travel  with  a  pair  of  money  scales  in  his  pocket,  or  run  the  risk 
of  receiving  Gold  at  one  fourth  less  by  weight  than  it  counts. 

I  have  ever  been  a  friend  to  adequate  Congressional  powers; 
consequently  wish  to  see  the  ninth  article  of  the  Confedera- 
tion amended  and  extended :  Without  these  powers  we  cannot 
support  a  national  character,  and  must  appear  contemptable 
in  the  eyes  of  Europe;  but  to  you  My  Dr.  Sir,  I  will  candidly 
confess,  that  in  my  opinion,  it  is  of  little  avail  to  give  these  to 

"The  hounds  were  taken  care  of  by  Dr.  John  Cochran,  while  in  New  York,  and  sent 
to  Mount  Vernon  in  a  Captain  Packard's  sloop.  John  Quincy  Adams  had  evidently 
found  the  task  of  escorting  them  across  the  ocean  distasteful.  Grayson's  answer  to  this 
letter  is  dated  Sept.  5,  1785,  and  is  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

'Jefferson's  plan,  which  used  the  dollar  as  the  unit  and  divided  it  decimally,  was  the 
one  adopted  by  Congress. 


Congress:  the  members  seem  to  be  so  much  afraid  of  exerting 
those  which  they  already  have,  that  no  opportunity  is  slipped 
of  surrendering  them,  or  referring  the  exercise  of  them,  to  the 
States  individually:  instance  your  late  ordinance  respecting 
the  disposal  of  the  Western  Lands;  in  which  no  State,  with  the 
smallest  propriety,  could  have  obtruded  an  interference.  No 
doubt  but  the  information  of  Congress  from  the  back  Country 
is  better  than  mine  respecting  the  operation  of  this  ordinance; 
but  I  have  understood  from  some  sensible  people  therefrom, 
that  besides  running8  they  do  not  know  where  to  purchase, 
the  Lands  are  of  so  versatile  a  nature,  that  to  the  end  of  time 
they  will  not,  by  those  who  are  acquainted  therewith,  be  pur- 
chased either  in  Townships  or  by  square  miles :  this,  if  I  recol- 
lect right,  was  the  sentiment  I  delivered  to  you  on  the  first 
mention  of  the  matter;  but  past  experience  you  said  was 
brought  forward  in  support  of  the  measure,  and  appealed  to 
for  the  issue.  I  submitted  therefore  to  its  decision,  but  still 
retained  my  opinion  of  the  matter. 

We  have  got  the  Potomac  navigation  in  hand:  workmen 
are  employ 'd  under  the  best  manager  and  assistants  we  could 
obtain,  at  the  Falls  of  Shenandoah  and  Seneca;  and  I  am  happy 
to  inform  you  that,  upon  a  critical  examination  of  them  by  the 
Directors,  the  manager  and  myself,  we  are  unanimously  of 
opinion  that  the  difficulties  at  these  two  places,  do  not  exceed 
the  expectations  we  had  formed  of  them;  and  that  the  naviga- 
tion thro'  them,  might  be  effected  without  the  aid  of  Locks: 
how  far  we  may  have  been  deceived  with  respect  to  the  first 
(as  the  water,  tho'  low  may  yet  fall)  I  shall  not  decide;  but  we 
are  not  mistaken  I  think  in  our  conjectures  of  the  other.  With 
very  great  esteem  and  regard,  I  am,  &c.9 

8  Carelessness  of  the  "  Letter  Book  "  recorder.  The  meaning  seems  to  be  that  besides 
the  difficulty  in  running  boundary  lines. 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 




Mount  Vernon,  August  22, 1785. 

Sir:  Both  your  letters  of  the  16th.  have  come  safe.  As  you 
have  engaged  the  clover  seed  of  Mr.  Wormeley's  manager,  I 
will  take  one  bushel  of  it;  tho'  I  had  no  idea  of  giving  so  high 
a  price,  as  I  could  have  got  the  same  quantity  from  Philada. 
(I  suppose  equally  good)  for  half  the  sum.  If  you  send  it  to  the 
care  of  Mr.  Hartshorne  in  Alexanda.  it  will  come  safe,  and 
the  sooner  it  is  done  the  better:  pay  for  it  out  of  the  first  money 
you  receive  for  any  use. 

I  am  willing  to  take  your  Wheat,  if  it  is  free  from  the  Fly, 
well  cleaned  and  of  good  quality;  provided  it  is  delivered  at 
my  Mill,  the  road  to  which  (by  being  less  used)  is  better  than 
that  to  Alexandria  or  Dumfries.  My  prices  are  always  gov- 
erned by  the  Alexandria  Cash  market;  for  I  neither  give  more, 
nor  expect  it  for  less:  The  price  current  there  at  present  (ac- 
cording to  Richard's  Gazette)  is  five  shillings;  but  the  state  of 
our  Trade  at  this  time  is  so  uncertain,  that  it  is  almost  impos- 
sible to  determine  whether  it  will  be  more,  or  less. 

If  the  present  restriction  of  our  commerce  continues,  the  man- 
ufacturing of  Wheat  must  be  broken  up  altogether;  as  the 
West  India  markets  which  afford  the  greatest  demands  for  our 
Flour,  are  shut  against  our  Vessels.  If  you  choose  to  take  the 
certainty  of  five  shillings  for  your  wheat,  it  may  be  a  bargain 
at  that,  provided  you  determine  immediately:  or  if  you  prefer 
to  abide  by  the  rise,  or  fall  of  the  Alexandria  market,  I  am  wil- 
ling to  do  this  also,  if  you  will  fix  a  period  at  which  you  shall 
determine  to  accept  the  price  which  is  then  existing;  by  this  I 
mean,  (and  it  is  necessary  to  declare  it  in  order  to  avoid  mis- 
understandings,) that  if  you  should  be  from  the  first  of  Oc- 
tober to  the  first  of  April,  for  instance,  in  delivering  your  Crop, 


I  shall  not  think  myself  under  an  obligation  to  allow  the  highest 
price  that  may  be  given  within  those  periods;  because  the  price 
may  rise  to  six  shillings,  and  then  fall  to  five;  according  to  the 
demand  arising  from  circumstances.  It  would  therefore  be  as 
unreasonable  for  you  to  expect  that  I  should  give  the  highest 
price  at  which  wheat  had  sold  within  the  before  mentioned 
periods,  as  for  me  to  suppose  that  you  ought  to  take  the  lowest. 
However,  to  be  more  clearly  understood  (if  the  price  is  to 
be  regulated  by  the  Alexandria  cash  market,  for  I  shall  not  be 
governed  by  what  they  offer  in  goods),  it  must  be  the  price  of 
the  day  on  which  you  determine  to  take  it:  that  is,  if  it  should 
start  from  5/.  and  keep  rising  'till,  by  the  first  of  Deer,  it  had 
reached  6/.,  and  on  that  day  you  inform  me  personally,  or  by 
letter,  that  you  will  take  the  market  price,  I  shall  think  myself 
obliged  to  allow  6/.  for  your  Crop :  On  the  other  hand,  if  you 
expect  the  price  will  get  higher,  and  wait  for  its  doing  so  until 
it  falls  to  4/.,  I  will  pay  no  more  than  4/.  for  it. 

I  have  been  thus  explicit  because  I  dislike  disputes  and  wish 
to  avoid  them;  which  makes  it  necessary  to  mention  another 
case  which  sometimes  happens;  and  that  is,  that  what  a  few 
bushels  of  wheat  may  sell  for;  or  what  a  Merchant,  when  he 
has  got  a  vessel  nearly  loaded,  may  give  rather  than  detain  her 
at  high  charges,  is  not  to  be  considered  as  the  market  price.  You 
are  not  in  a  situation  (having  your  wheat  to  transport  from  a 
distant  part)  to  take  advantage  of  the  case  last  mentioned;  and 
a  few  bushels  of  particular  wheat,  or  wheat  for  particular  uses, 
can  have  no  influence  upon  the  general  price  which  is  always 
very  well  established  in  a  place  of  such  trade  as  Alexandria. 
After  all  I  confess  it  would  be  more  agreeable  to  me  to  fix  a 
price  between  ourselves:  but  I  cannot  at  the  time  exceed  5/.  as 
that  is  the  price  now  current. 

When  you  come  down  in  Octr.  I  shall  be  glad  to  see  you 
here;  by  that  time  I  expect  to  have  the  accounts  against  my 

1785]  THE  BANQUET  HALL  237 

Tenants  brought  into  some  kind  of  order.  If  you  could  engage 
me  about  250  wt.  of  good  fall  butter,  from  such  farmers  as  you 
can  depend  upon  for  the  quality  and  their  punctuallity.  I 
should  be  obliged  to  you:  if  you  let  me  have  your  wheat,  the 
butter  may  come  down  occasionally  with  that.  I  am,  etc.10 


Mount  Vernon,  August  29, 1785. 

Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  20th.  of  this  month,  only  came  to  my 
hands  by  the  last  Post,  or  I  would  have  replied  to  it  sooner. 

I  have  a  room  32  by  24  feet,  and  16  feet  pitch,  which  I  want 
to  finish  in  stucco;  it  is  my  intention  to  do  it  in  a  plain  neat 
style;  which,  independantly  of  its  being  the  present  taste,  (as 
I  am  inform'd)  is  my  choice.  The  Chimney  is  in  the  centre  of 
the  longest  side,  for  which  I  have  a  very  elegant  marble  piece; 
directly  opposite  thereto  is  a  Venetian  window,  of  equal 
breadth  and  pitch  of  the  room;  on  each  side  of  the  chimney 
is  a  door,  leading  into  other  rooms,  and  on  each  of  the  short 
sides  is  a  door  and  window. 

I  mention  these  things  that  you  may  be  apprized  of  the  sort 
of  work;  the  time  it  may  take  you  to  execute  it,  and  that  you 
may  inform  me  upon  what  terms;  and  also,  if  you  are  inclined 
to  undertake  it,  that  you  may  have  leisure  to  think  of  a  design. 
The  season  being  so  far  advanced,  I  had  given  up  the  idea  of 
doing  anything  to  the  room  this  year;  but  if  I  could  enter  upon 
the  work  with  well  founded  assurances  of  accomplishing  it 
soon,  I  am  ready  and  willing  to  go  on  with  it  immediately; 
having  by  me  stucco,  and  seasoned  plank  for  the  floor  and 
other  parts  (if  necessary)  and  good  Joiners  of  my  own  to 
execute  what  may  be  wanting  in  their  way. 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


You  will  please  to  let  me  hear  from  you  without  delay  on 
this  subject,  and  I  pray  you  to  be  explicit;  because,  as  I  would 
undertake  it  at  once,  or  not  at  all  this  year,  I  should  like  to 
know  your  terms  and  sentiments  precisely,  that  I  may  govern 
myself  accordingly.  I  am,  etc.11 


Mount  Vernon,  August  29, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  Your  favor  of  the  25th.  in  answer  to  mine  of  the 
preceeding  week,  came  safe.  At  the  time  I  wrote  that  letter,  I 
was  uninformed  of  the  circumstances  with  which  you  have  since 
made  me  acquainted;  however,  you  will  be  at  no  loss  from  the 
contents  of  it,  to  discover  that  I  had  in  contemplation  Bargains, 
which,  from  the  quantity  of  Goods  at  Market,  scarcity  of  cash 
according  to  newspaper  Accounts,  distress  of  the  Trade,  and 
the  mode  of  selling,  I  thought  might  probably  be  obtained: 
but  if  I  am  mistaken  herein,  I  shall  content  myself  with  the  few 
marked  articles,  or  such  of  them  as  can  be  had  cheap.  Fine 
Jaconette12  Muslin  (apron  width)  is  what  Mrs.  Washington 
wants,  and  about  five  or  seven  yards  would  do.  As  the  Arrack 
is  in  large  Casks,  and  new,  I  decline  taking  any. 

If  Mr.  O'Donnell13  should  feel  an  inclination  to  visit  this 
part  of  Virginia,  I  shall  be  happy  in  seeing  him :  and  if,  instead 
of  furnishing  him  with  a  letter  of  introduction,  you  should 
change  the  mode  and  introduce  him  in  your  own  propria 
personae,  it  would  add  much  to  the  pleasure  of  the  visit.  Before 
your  letter  was  received,14  from  my  reading,  or  rather  from  an 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

12  In  the  text  of  this  letter,  printed  in  a  sales  catalogue  in  1907-8,  this  word  is 
"  Jaccanet." 

"Owner  of  the  ship  from  India  and  China,  which  brought  the  goods  to  the  port  of 

"Tilghman's  letter  (in  the  Washington  Papers  under  date  of  Aug.  25,  1785)  de- 
scribed the  crew  of  O'Donnell's  ship. 

1785]  HANDKERCHIEFS  239 

imperfect  recollection  of  what  I  had  read,  I  had  conceived  an 
idea  that  the  Chinese,  tho'  droll  in  shape  and  appearance,  were 
yet  white. 

I  am  glad  to  hear  that  my  packet  to  Mr.  Smith  had  got  safely 
to  hand,  as  there  were  papers  of  consequence  transmitted.  I 
expect  some  other  Documents  for  my  Law  suit  in  the  course  of 
a  few  days,  from  our  Attorney  General;  which  I  shall  take  the 
liberty  of  enclosing  to  you,  to  be  forwarded  to  Mr.  Smith;  and 
as  I  seem  to  be  in  the  habit  of  giving  you  trouble,  I  beg  the  favor 
of  you  to  cause  the  enclosed  to  be  delivered.  I  leave  it  open  for 
your  perusal,  my  reason  for  it  is,  that  thereby  seeing  my  wants, 
you  may  be  so  obliging  as  to  let  me  know  your  opinion  of  Mr. 
Rawlins  with  respect  to  his  abilities  and  diligence  as  a  work- 
man; whether  he  is  reckoned  moderate  or  high  in  his  charges; 
and  whether  at  this  time  there  is  much  call  for  a  workman  of 
his  profession,  in  Baltimore;  for  on  this  I  presume  his  high  or 
moderate  terms  will  greatly  depend. 

Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  best  respects  to  Mrs.  Tilghman, 
and  thanks  her  for  her  obliging  assurance  of  chusing  the  ar- 
ticles she  wants  perfect  in  their  kind.  With  great  esteem  and 
regard,  I  am,  etc. 

P.  S.  Since  writing  the  above  Mrs.  W n,  requests  me  to 

add,  that  if  any  fine  thin  handkerchiefs  with  striped  or  worked 
borders  are  to  be  had,  she  would  be  glad  to  get  six  of  them.15 


Mount  Vernon,  August  31, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  Your  favor  of  the  21st.  ulto.  inclosing  a  letter  written 
in  behalf  of  the  Society  of  the  Cincinnati  in  the  State  of  Penn- 
sylvania on  the  9th.  of  July  in  the  preceding  year,  came  to  this 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


place  in  my  absence  on  a  tour  up  the  river  Potomac  with  the 
Directors,  to  examine  the  obstructions  and  to  point  out  a  mode 
for  the  improvement  and  extension  of  its  navigation. 

I  am  perfectly  convinced  that  if  the  first  institution  of  this 
Society  had  not  been  parted  with,  'ere  this  we  should  have  had 
the  country  in  an  uproar,  and  a  line  of  separation  drawn  be- 
tween this  society  and  their  fellow  citizens.  The  alterations 
which  took  place  at  the  last  general  Meeting  have  quieted  the 
clamours  which  in  many  of  the  States  were  rising  to  a  great 
height;  but  I  have  not  heard  yet  of  the  incorporation  of  any 
Society  by  the  State  to  which  it  belongs,  wch  is  an  evidence  in 
my  mind,  that  the  jealousies  of  the  people  are  rather  asleep 
than  removed  on  this  occasion. 

I  am  always  made  happy,  when  I  hear  that  any  of  my  fellow 
labourers  have  received  appointments  that  may  in  some  meas- 
ure compensate  them  for  their  past  services  and  losses  in  the 
late  revolution:  I  feel  it  in  two  respects,  first,  as  it  benefits 
the  individual,  and  next,  as  it  is  a  testimony  of  public  gratitude, 
be  assured  then  My  Dr.  Sir,  that  your  appointment  to  the  office 
which  you  now  hold 18  gave  me  much  pleasure,  as  I  am  told 
the  emoluments  of  it  are  handsome.  My  best  wishes  will  ever 
attend  you:  with  sincere  esteem  and  regard,  I  am,  etc.17 


Mount  Vernon,  August  31, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  Your  favor  of  the  9th.  by  Capt.  Packard  accompany- 
ing the  Hounds  sent  by  the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette  to  your  care  for 
me,  came  safely  to  my  hands  a  few  days  ago;  for  the  trouble 
you  have  had  with  the  latter  I  offer  you  my  thanks;  and  if  any 

"In  the  Pennsylvania  Council  of  Censors. 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


expences  have  been  incurred  previous  to  their  reimbarkation 
at  New  York,  I  will  pay  them  upon  the  first  notice. 

I  persuade  myself  you  are  too  well  convinced  my  Dr.  Doctor 
of  my  friendship,  and  of  my  inclination  to  promote  your  inter- 
est or  wishes,  to  doubt  my  ready  compliance  with  the  request 
of  your  letter  (respecting  the  office  of  Continental  treasurer) 
if  it  comported  with  the  line  of  conduct  which  I  had  prescribed 
for  my  government.  But  from  my  knowledge  of  the  composi- 
tion of  Congress,  the  State  politics  of  its  members,  and  their 
endeavors  to  fill  every  civil  office  with  a  citizen  from  their  own 
State,  if  not  altogether,  at  least  by  compromise,  that  I  took  up 
an  early  determination  not  to  hazard  the  mortification  of  a 
refusal,  or  of  the  passing  by  my  application;  by  not  asking  any- 
thing from  it,  and  to  this  resolution  I  was  further  prompted  by 
the  numberless  applications  with  which  it  was  impracticable, 
and  in  many  instances  would  have  been  improper,  for  me  to 
comply.  Except  in  a  single  one,  and  that  not  pointed  to  any 
office  directly,  I  have  never  gone  beyond  the  general  recom- 
mendation which  accompanied  my  resignation,  nor  do  I  be- 
lieve  I  ever  shall. 

Mrs.  Washington  who  does  not  enjoy  good  health,  presents 
her  compliments  to,  and  offers  best  wishes  for  Mrs.  Cochran 
and  yourself  to  which  please  to  add  and  accept  those  of  Dear 
Sir  etc.18 


Mount  Vernon,  August  31, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir :  In  my  absence  from  home  on  a  tour  up  this  river,  to 
view  the  nature  of  it  and  to  direct  the  improvements  agreeably 
the  Acts  of  Assemblies  of  Virginia  and  Maryland;  the  enclosed 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


memoirs  arrived  here,  covered  by  a  letter,  of  which  the  follow- 
ing is  an  extract,  from  a  member  of  Congress.19 

As  I  am  fully  persuaded  it  is  your  wish  to  transmit  to  pos- 
terity a  true  history  of  the  Revolution,  and  of  course  you  desire 
to  receive  every  information  which  will  enable  you  to  do  jus- 
tice to  the  principal  Actors  therein;  it  cannot  be  unpleasing 
to  you  to  receive  a  narrative  of  unadorned  facts  which  serve  to 
bring  forward  circumstances  which,  in  some  measure,  may  be 
unknown  to  you :  I  therefore  make  no  apology  for  transmitting 
the  enclosed;  nor  shall  I  do  more  than  hint  to  you,  the  pro- 
priety of  keeping  the  Marquis's  wishes  in  this  business,  behind 
the  Curtain;  your  own  good  sense  must  dictate  the  measure, 
and  furnish  the  reason  for  it. 

The  noble,  conspicuous,  and  disinterested  part  which  this 
Nobleman  has  acted  on  the  American  theatre  deserves  all  the 
gratitude  which  this  Country  can  render  him,  and  all  the  eloge 
which  the  pen  of  a  faithful  historian  can  bestow,  with  its  ap- 
pearing to  be  the  object  of  his  wishes. 

The  family  is  as  well  as  usual;  Mrs.  Stuart  has  been  sick,  but 
is  now  getting  better.  Mrs.  Washington  does  not  enjoy  good 
health,  but  joins  me  in  best  respects  to  Mrs.  Gordon.  I  am,  etc.20 


Mount  Vernon,  September  i,  1785. 

My  dr.  Marqs. :  Since  my  last  to  you,  I  have  been  favored  with 

your  letters  of  the  nth.  and  13th.  of  May  by  young  Mr.  Adams, 

who  brought  them  to  New  York,  from  whence  they  came 

safely  to  this  place  by  the  Post :  the  first  is  a  Cypher;  and  for  the 

"At  this  point  the  "Letter  Book"  has  the  footnote  reference:  "See  Mr.  McHenry's 
Letter  to  me  dated  ist.  Augt.  1785;"  but  this  letter  is  not  now  found  in  either  the 
Washington  Papers  or  the  McHenry  Papers. 

^From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  FRENCH  HOUNDS  243 

communications  therein  contained  I  thank  you :  My  best  wishes 
will  always  accompany  your  undertakings;  but  remember  my 
dear  friend  it  is  a  part  of  the  military  art  to  reconnoitre  and  feel 
your  way,  before  you  engage  too  deeply.  More  is  oftentimes 
effected  by  regular  approaches,  than  by  an  open  assault;  from 
the  first  too,  you  may  make  a  good  retreat;  from  the  latter  (in 
case  of  repulse)  it  rarely  happens. 

It  is  to  be  hoped  that  Mr.  Adams 21  will  bring  the  British  min- 
istry to  some  explanation  respecting  the  western  posts.  Noth- 
ing else  can,  I  conceive,  disturb  the  tranquillity  of  these  States; 
but  if  I  am  mistaken  in  this  conjecture,  you  know  my  senti- 
ments of,  and  friendship  for  you  too  well  to  doubt  my  inclina- 
tion to  serve  you  to  the  utmost  of  your  wishes,  and  my  powers. 

It  gives  me  very  singular  pleasure  to  find  the  court  of  France 
relaxing  in  their  demand  of  Longchamps;  to  have  persisted  in 
it  would  have  been  a  very  embarrassing  measure  to  this  Coun- 
try under  the  Laws  and  Constitution  of  the  Federal  Govern- 
ment, and  those  of  the  several  parts  which  compose  it. 

The  Hounds  which  you  were  so  obliging  as  to  send  me  ar- 
rived safe,  and  are  of  promising  appearance;  to  Monsieur  le 
Compte  Doilliamson  (if  I  miscall  him,  your  handwriting  is  to 
blame,  and  in  honor  you  are  bound  to  rectify  the  error) ;  and 
in  an  especial  manner  to  his  fair  Competesse,  my  thanks  are 
due  for  this  favor:  the  enclosed  letter  which  I  give  you  the 
trouble  of  forwarding  contains  my  acknowledgement  of  their 
obliging  attention  to  me  on  this  occasion. 

If  I  recollect  right,  the  letter  which  was  written  by  the  Mar- 
quis de  St.  Simon  was  on  the  business  of  the  Cincinnati,  and 
was  laid  before  the  general  meeting  at  Philada.  in  May  1784; 
consequently,  the  answer  must  have  proceeded  from  the  So- 
ciety either  especially  to  him,  or  generally,  thro'  the  Counts  de 

21  John  Adams. 


Estaing  and  Rochambeau,  who  were  written  to  as  the  heads 
of  the  naval  and  military  members  of  that  Society  in  France; 
but  as  all  the  papers  relative  to  the  business  of  the  Society  were 
deposited  in  the  care  of  the  Secretary,  General  Knox,  or  the 
assistant  Secretary,  Williams,22 1  have  them  not  to  refer  to;  but 
will  make  enquiry  and  inform  you  or  the  Marqs.  de  St.  Simon 
more  particularly  of  the  result. 

Your  constant  attention,  and  unwearied  endeavors  to  serve 
the  interests  of  these  United  States,  cannot  fail  to  keep  alive  in 
them  a  grateful  sensibility  of  it;  and  the  affectionate  regard 
of  all  their  citizens  for  you.  The  footing  on  which  you  have 
established  a  market  for  whale  oil  must  be  equally  pleasing 
and  advantageous  to  the  States  which  are  more  immediately 
engaged  in  that  commerce. 

Having  heard  nothing  further  of  the  Jacks  which  were  to 
be  sent  to  me  from  Spain,  and  which  by  Mr.  Carmichael's  let- 
ter (enclosing  one  from  the  Count  de  Florida  Blanca)  of  the 
3d.  Deer,  were  actually  purchased  for  me  at  that  date,  I  am  at  a 
loss  to  account  for  the  delay,  and  am  apprehensive  of  some  acci- 
dent. Be  this  as  it  may,  if  you  could  My  Dr.  Marquis,  thro'  the 
medium  of  Admiral  Suffrein,  or  by  any  other  means  that 
would  not  be  troublesome,  procure  me  a  male  or  female,  or  one 
of  the  former  and  two  of  the  latter,  upon  the  terms  mentioned 
in  your  letter  of  the  3d.  of  May,  I  should  think  it  a  very  for- 
tunate event  and  shou'd  feel  myself  greatly  indebted  to  your 
friendship.  The  Mules  which  proceed  from  the  mixture  of 
these  Animals  with  the  horse,  are  so  much  more  valuable  un- 
der the  care  which  is  usually  bestowed  on  draught  cattle  by 
our  Negroes,  that  I  am  daily  more  anxious  to  obtain  the  means 
for  propagating  them. 

^Otho  Holland  Williams.  He  was  assistant  secretary  general  of  the  Society  of  the 


When  George  returns  from  the  Springs  and  gets  a  little 
fixed,  I  will  set  him  about  copying  your  letters  to  me,  which 
will  be  better  than  to  hazard  the  originals  at  Sea,  where  an  acci- 
dent might  occasion  the  loss  of  them  to  both  of  us.  In  my  last  I 
informed  you  of  his  intended  marriage,  which  I  suppose  will 
take  place  in  the  early  part  of  next  month. 

I  should  have  given  an  earlier  acknowledgment  of  your  let- 
ters of  the  nth.  and  13th.  of  May  aforementioned,  had  I  been 
at  home  when  they  came  to  this  place,  but  at  that  time  I  was  on 
a  tour  up  this  river  with  the  Directors  (Johnson,  Lee,  Fitzger- 
ald and  Gilpin)  to  examine  the  obstructions,  and  to  fix  upon  a 
plan  of  operations;  which  having  done,  we  commenced  our 
labours  on  the  5th.  of  last  month,  under  a  full  persuasion  that 
the  work  will  not  prove  more  arduous  than  we  had  conceived 
before  the  difficulties  were  explored.  The  James  River  Com- 
pany, by  my  last  accounts  from  Richmond,  is  formed;  a  meet- 
ing of  the  members  was  summoned  to  be  held  on  the  20th.  of 
last  month,  but  what  the  determinations  of  it  were,  I  have  not 
yet  heard;  Nor  (so  barren  are  the  times)  have  I  a  tittle  of  news 
to  communicate  to  you;  the  several  assemblies  are  in  their  re- 
cesses but  will  be  addressed  I  presume  at  their  autumnal  meet- 
ings by  the  commercial  interests  of  the  United  States  to  vest 
Powers  in  Congress  to  regulate  the  Trade  of  the  Union  which 
they  see  clearly  must  be  directed  by  one  head  in  order  to  obtain 
consistency  and  respectability  at  home  and  abroad.  I  am,  etc.23 


Mount  Vernon,  September  1, 1785. 
Sir :  I  have  just  received  seven  very  fine  Hounds,  for  which, 
the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette  informs  me,  I  am  indebted  to  your 

23 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


goodness.  I  know  not  in  what  terms  to  acknowledge  my  grati- 
tude for  the  obligation,  but  pray  you  to  be  assured  that  I  have 
a  due  sense  of  the  honor;  and  feel  in  a  particular  manner  the 
force  of  the  goodness  of  Madame  la  Comptesse,  to  whom 
the  Marqs.  adds,  I  am  beholden  for  a  favorite  hound.  I  pray  you 
to  offer  my  best  respects,  and  to  make  my  acknowledgment  of 
this  favor,  acceptable  to  her:  at  the  sametime  I  beg  you  to  assure 
her  that  her  favorite  shall  not  suffer  under  my  care,  but  become 
the  object  of  my  particular  attention.  I  have  the  honor,  etc.24 


Mount  Vernon,  September  i,  1785. 

My  Dr.  Humphreys:  In  the  latter  part  of  July  I  wrote  to  you 
very  fully,  since  which  I  have  received  your  favor  of  May.  As 
nothing  has  occurred  since  that  period  worthy  of  observation, 
except  that  the  Indians,  suposed  to  be  instigated  thereto  by  the 

B are  getting  more  and  more  out  of  humour,  this  letter 

will  be  shorter  than  I  usually  write  to  you. 

I  find  by  your  last  that  your  time  has  been  more  occupied  by 
your  official  duty  than  I  had  conceived;  for,  to  be  frank,  I  sup- 
posed that  amusements  more  than  business  had  been  the  occa- 
sion of  the  brevity  of  your  letters  to  me. 

The  times  are  dull  with  us,  the  Assemblies  are  in  their  recess; 
and  the  Merchants  are  preparing  petitions  to  them  respec- 
tively to  enlarge  the  powers  of  Congress  for  Commercial  pur- 
poses. In  Congress  I  understand  diversity  of  opinion  prevails 
respecting  the  extent  of  these  powers.  They  are  also  deliberat- 
ing on  the  establishment  of  a  Mint  for  the  Coinage  of  Gold, 
Silver  and  copper;  but  nothing  final  is  yet  resolved  on  respect- 
ing either.  Our  winter  has  been  severe,  but  different  (in  the 

From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  MEDAL  FROM  CONGRESS  247 

middle  States)  from  the  one  you  last  saw  in  America;  it  was 
long,  wet  and  disagreeable.  We  are  just  emerging  from  a 
drought  which  it  was  supposed  eight  days  ago,  would  have 
annihilated  the  Indian  Corn  in  the  lower  parts  of  this,  and  the 
neighbouring  States;  and  tho'  it  has  been  raining  incessantly 
for  several  days  past,  I  am  of  opinion  that  a  great  deal  of  the 
corn  is  irrecoverably  lost  for  want  of  the  farina  (the  tassel  being 
dry)  to  impregnate  the  young  shoots.  The  calamity  which 
you  apprehended  from  the  drought  which  had  followed  the 
hard  Winter  in  France,  has  yielded  I  hope,  to  more  pleasing 

I  thank  you  for  your  attention  to  the  Medal  which  was  voted 
for  me  by  Congress,25 1  expected  it  was  to  have  remained  on  the 
Journals  of  that  honl.  Body  as  a  dead  letter;  and  never  having 
hinted,  so  I  never  intended  to  hint  my  knowledge  of  such  a 
Vote;  or  my  apprehension  of  the  effect  of  it,  to  any  one  in 
power  or  in  Office.  You  may  believe  me  sincere  when  I  assure 
you  that  I  am,  etc.26 


Mount  Vernon,  September  i,  1785. 
Gentn :  I  am  honored  with  your  favor  of  the  22d.  of  June.  As 
I  have  been  very  unlucky  hitherto,  in  the  transportation  of 
Wine  (in  the  common  Craft  of  the  Country)  from  one  port,  or 
one  from  one  river  to  another;  I  had  rather  the  old  Maderia 
ordered  by  Mr.  Hill28  for  my  use  should  remain  with  you 
(as  I  am  not  in  immediate  want)  until  a  conveyance  may 
offer  directly  to  Alexandria.  But  if  this  is  not  likely  to  happen 
soon,  and  you  should  think  it  safe  to  Ship  it  to  the  address  of 

25  On  the  occasion  of  the  evacuation  of  Boston  in  1776. 
28 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
"Of  Madeira. 
28  Henry  Hill,  in  Philadelphia. 


Doctr.  Taylor29  of  Norfolk;  I  should  be  glad  in  that  case,  to 
have  it  well  secured  against  adulteration;  for  I  had  rather  lose 
the  whole,  than  to  have  part  taken  out  and  the  deficiency  sup- 
plied with  water,  which  is  too  common  a  practice  with  the  river 
Shippers.  Or  if  neither  of  these  is  done,  I  would  next  pray  that 
Doctr.  Taylor  may  be  requested  to  detain  the  Wine  in  his  cellar 
until  a  conveyance,  on  which  he  can  rely,  may  offer  to  Alex- 
andria, or  to  my  house  which  is  nine  miles  below  on  the  bank 
of  the  river.  lam,  etc. 


Mount  Vernon,  September  3,  1785. 

Sir:  I  am  now  about  to  inform  you  of  the  reason  why  I  suf- 
fered your  letter  of  the  27th.  of  April,  with  its  enclosures,  to 
remain  so  long  unacknowledged. 

In  an  absence  of  almost  nine  years  from  home,  my  private 
concerns  had  got  so  much  deranged,  and  my  accounts  and  pa- 
pers, by  the  frequent  hasty  removal  of  the  latter  to  get  them 
out  of  the  reach  of  the  enemy  when  their  shipping  appeared, 
had  got  into  such  a  jumble  and  confusion  that  it  was  next  to  im- 
possibility for  me,  without  spending  much  time,  to  adjust  the 
former :  I  still  hoped  however  that  after  awhile  I  should  have 
been  able  to  accomplish  it,  and  that  long  'ere  this  I  should 
have  sent  you  a  statement  of  the  account  as  it  stands  betwen  us. 
But  reckoning  without  my  host,  I  have  been  obliged  to  hire  a 
Clerk  to  settle  all  my  accounts,  and  to  take  this  business  off  my 
hands;  as  from  a  variety  of  circumstances  I  found  it  imprac- 
ticable for  me  to  attend  to  it  myself. 

Inclosed  is  his  statement  of  the  account  between  you  and 
me,  made  out  from  my  books  and  your  return  of  Sales.  The 

28  Dr.  James  Taylor. 

1785]  A  FLOUR  DEBT  249 

balance  from  his  accot.  differs  widely  from  yours;  arising  first 
from  the  charge  of  Jacob  Williams's  payment  of  £  178.9.8.  to 
James  Hill;  whereas  ^50.  only  of  that  sum,  according  to  Lund 
Washington's  accot.  (who  superintended  my  business)  was  re- 
ceived from  Williams.  Secondly,  from  £  123.7.4 l/2  charged  me, 
as  paid  by  Mr.  Wm.  Holt,  of  which  I  have  no  account.  Thirdly, 
between  ,£174.  charged  me  as  paid  to  Colo.  Lewis,  and  my 
credit  of  ,£170  only  which  was  received  from  him;  and  lastly, 
from  the  Debts  yet  due,  amounting  pr.  your  List  to  ,£175.16.2. 
The  three  first  of  these  you  will  please  to  enquire  into;  and 
the  last,  to  use  the  most  speedy,  and  which  to  you  may  seem  the 
most  effectual,  means  of  obtaining  them. 

The  sum  which  is  in  your  hands,  I  could  wish  to  have  re- 
mitted, or  an  order  given  me  on  some  Gentleman  in  Alexan- 
dria: Or,  which  in  part  would  answer  my  purpose  equally,  I 
wou'd  take  one  hundred  pair  of  large,  strong  and  well  made 
Negro  Shoes,  provided  I  could  have  them  at  a  reasonable  price 
and  by  the  20th.  of  October;  formerly  I  know  these  were  to  be 
had  at  Norfolk  readily;  and  it  is  essential  for  me  to  know 
immediately,  whether,  I  may  depend  upon  you  for  them  or  not. 

The  Drought  has  been  so  severe  in  these  parts,  that  my  Mill 
was  entirely  stopped:  the  rain  which  has  fallen  within  these 
ten  days,  has  done  no  more  than  to  enable  her  to  grind  for  my 
own  consumption,  when  I  begin  to  manufacture  I  will  consign 
you  a  parcel  of  superfine  flour,  as  well  to  try  the  Norfolk  Mar- 
ket, as  to  prove  a  new  Miller  whom  I  have  lately  got,  and  who 
comes  well  recommended  to  me  from  some  of  the  best  Judges 
in  Pennsylvania. 

If  you  should  be  able  at  any  time  to  put  me  in  a  way  of  secur- 
ing the  Debt  due  to  me  from  Balfour  and  Baran,30  it  would  be 
rendering  me  a  very  acceptable  service:  Without  this,  or  unless 

^Balfour  &  Barrand,  merchants  of  Hampton,  Va. 


some  proof  could  be  had  (as  I  believe  the  fact  undoubtedly  is) 
of  the  partnership  of  these  Gentlemen  or  connexion  in  this  bus- 
iness with  Messrs.  Hanburys  of  London,  I  must  loose  upwards 
of  ^2000  by  my  sale  of  Flour  to  them.31  With  great  esteem 
and  regard  I  am,  etc.32 


Mount  Vernon,  September  5, 1785. 

Sir:  I  am  indebted  to  you  for  your  several  favors  of  the  20th. 
of  Deer,  introdultory  of  Mr.  de  Chateaufort,33  of  the  15th.  of 
Feby.  and  25th.  of  March,  which  I  should  not  have  suffered  to 
have  remained  so  long  unacknowledged,  if  anything  had  oc- 
curred, the  relation  of  which  could  have  compensated  for  the 
trouble  of  reading  my  letter. 

Long  as  I  have  waited  for  such  an  event,  nothing  has  yet  hap- 
pen'd  of  much  importance  in  our  political  movements,  and  the 
Assemblies  of  the  different  States  being  now  in  their  recesses, 
nothing  probably  will  occur  'till  they  have  met.  In  the  mean- 
while the  mercantile  interest  feeling  the  necessity  of  giving  a 
controuling  power  to  Congress  to  regulate  the  trade  of  this 
Country,  have  prepared,  and  are  now  preparing  Addresses  to 
their  respective  Assemblies  for  this  purpose.  They  are  now 
clearly  convinced  that  this  power  cannot  be  exercised  with  pro- 
priety unless  one  system  pervades  the  whole  Union,  and  is 
made  competent  to  the  ends.  It  has  happened  in  this  instance 
as  in  the  revolution  itself,  that  the  means  which  G:  B.  pursues 
to  obtain  advantages,  defeat  her  own  ends;  for  I  am  certain, 
that  if  she  had  forborne  to  tax  our  trade  with  those  restrictions 
and,  imposts,  which  are  laid  on  it  by  Acts  of  Parliament,  or 

21  The  flour  had  been  furnished  in  the  year  1775. 

32 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

23 French  consul  for  South  Carolina. 

1785]  INDIAN  TREATY  251 

orders  of  the  King  in  Council,  that  half  a  century  would  not 
have  produced  those  powers  in  Congress,  which,  or  more  than 
probably  will  be  given  to  them  in  a  few  months,  and  by  which 
equal  restrictions  and  duties  may  be  laid;  and  in  the  interim, 
sorry  I  am  to  add,  she  would  have  monopolized  in  a  very  great 
degree,  the  commerce  of  the  United  States. 

At  length  Congress  have  adopted  a  mode  for  disposing  of 
the  western  Lands;  but  I  confess  it  does  not  strike  me  as  a  very 
eligible  one:  however  mine  is  only  an  opinion,  and  I  wish  to  be 
mistaken  in  it,  as  the  fund  wou'd  be  very  productive  and  afford 
great  relief  to  the  public  creditors  if  the  Lands  meet  with  a 
ready  sale. 

Treaty  has  been  holden  with  the  Western  Indians  at  Fort 
Mcintosh  on  the  Ohio,  (twenty-five  miles  below  Pittsburgh) 
and  advantageous  terms  entered  into  with  those  who  met,  for 
they  ceded  without  any  compensation  as  large  a  District,  North- 
west of  that  river  as  we  have  any  occasion  for  at  present:  but 
it  should  seem  that  others  of  their  respective  Tribes  are  dissatis- 
fied, and  keep  the  settlers  of  the  Western  Territory  in  a  state  of 
disquietude.  This  I  am  persuaded  will  be  the  case  whilst  the 
British  retain  the  Posts  within  the  American  lines,  and  when 
they  will  be  surrendered,  is  not  for  me  to  decide. 

Congress  have  had  also  under  contemplation  a  Mint  for  the 
coinage  of  Gold,  Silver  and  Copper;  a  committee  has  reported 
in  favor  of  the  measure,  but  I  believe  no  ultimate  decision  is  yet 
come  to  on  the  subject,  by  that  Honl.  Body. 

From  the  last  European  accounts  we  have  reason  to  hope  that 
the  clouds  which  seemed  to  be  gathering  in  your  hemisphere, 
will  yield  to  a  tranquil  sky;  and  Peace,  with  all  its  blessings  will 
spread  its  mantle  over  the  threatened  Lands.  My  first  wish  is 
to  see  the  sons  and  Daughters  of  the  World  mixing  as  one  fam- 
ily, enjoying  the  sweets  of  social  intercourse,  and  reciprocal 


advantages:  the  Earth  certainly  is  sufficient  to  contain  us  all, 
and  affords  every  thing  necessary  to  our  wants,  if  we  would  be 
friendly  and  endeavour  to  accommodate  one  another.  Why 
then  should  we  wrangle,  and  why  should  we  attempt  to  in- 
fringe the  Rights  and  properties  of  our  Neighbours  ?  But  lest 
you  shou'd  suppose  that  I  am  about  to  turn  preacher,  I  will 
only  add  that,  with  the  highest  esteem  and  consideration,  I 
have  the  honor,  etc. 

P.  S.  I  had  not  the  pleasure  of  seeing  Mr.  de  Chateaufort: 
upon  the  receipt  of  your  letter  of  the  20th.  of  December,  en- 
closed to  me  by  that  Gentleman  from  Philada.;  I  wrote  to  him 
praying  that  I  might  be  honored  with  his  company  on  his  way 
to  Carolina;  but  he  found  it  more  convenient  at  that  hot  season 
to  go  thither  by  Sea  in  the  Packett.34 


Mount  Vernon,  September  5,  1785. 

Sir:  I  am  sorry  the  enclosed  account  should  be  brought 
against  me  in  my  private  character:  it  is  a  fact  which  I  thought 
had  been  well  known  to  all  the  public  Departments,  and  to 
those  employed  by  the  public,  that  expences  of  the  nature  of 
Otis  and  Henley's  Accots.  (which  is  for  clothing  for  the  ser- 
vants I  was  obliged  to  employ  in  my  public  character)  were 
paid  from  the  public  funds. 

If  I  mistake  not  Otis  &  Henley  were  Agents  for  the  purpose 
of  supplying  clothing  (or  materials  for  it)  for  the  Army;  to 
them  in  this  character  I  apply 'd;  and  never  until  the  enclosed 
account  was  presented,  had  I  any  other  idea  of  the  matter,  than 
that  the  amount  had  been  settled  for  by  them  in  their  public 

34  From  the  "  Letter  Book  "  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

On  September  5  Washington  also  wrote  a  brief  acknowledgment  to  Baron  Viomenil 
for  his  introductory  letter  to  De  Chateaufort.   A  copy  of  this  is  in  the  "  Letter  Book." 

1785]  A   CLOTHING  ACCOUNT  253 

accounts.  As  this  is  not  the  case,  had  it  been  presented  to  me 
whilst  I  had  authority  so  to  do,  I  should  have  ordered  the  pay- 
master to  have  discharged  it;  but  as  the  matter  now  stands,  I 
can  do  no  more  than  certify  that  the  Goods  were  receiv'd  on 
public  account  for  my  use;  for  I  really  cannot  pay  for  them  out 
of  my  private  purse.  It  is  to  be  regretted  that  the  matter  has 
lain  over  so  long.  I  am,  etc. 


I  certify  that  the  Goods  which  are  charged  within  were  re- 
quired on  public  account  to  clothe  the  servants  who  attended 
me  in  my  public  character;  and  is  a  proper  charge  against  the 
United  States,  not  against  me  as  a  private  person,  who  derived 
no  other  benefit  therefrom.35 


Mount  Vernon,  September  5, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  I  am  your  debtor  for  two  letters,  one  of  the  12th.  of 
Decemr.,  the  other  of  the  8th.  of  April.  Since  the  receipt  of  the 
first,  I  have  paid  my  respects  to  you  in  a  line  by  a  Majr.  Swan; 
but  as  it  was  introductory  only  of  him,  it  requires  an  apol- 
ogy, rather  than  entitles  me  to  a  credit  in  our  epistolary  corre- 

If  I  had  as  good  a  nack  my  dear  Marquis,  as  you  have  at  say- 
ing handsome  things,  I  would  endeavor  to  pay  you  in  kind  for 
the  flattering  expressions  of  your  letters,  having  an  ample  field 
to  work  in;  but  as  I  am  a  clumsy  workman  in  the  manufactory 
of  compliments,  I  must  first  profess  my  unworthiness  of  those 
which  you  have  bestowed  on  me,  and  my  inability  to  meet  you 

35 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


on  that  ground;  and  therefore  will  not  expose  myself  in  the 

It  gives  me  great  pleasure  to  find  by  my  letters  from  France, 
that  the  dark  clouds  which  hung  over  your  hemisphere,  are 
vanishing  before  the  all-chearing  Sunshine  of  peace.  My  first 
wish  is  to  see  the  blessings  of  it  diffused  through  all  Countries, 
and  among  all  ranks  in  every  Country;  and  that  we  should 
consider  ourselves  as  the  children  of  a  common  parent,  and  be 
disposed  to  acts  of  brotherly  kindness  towards  one  another.  In 
that  case  all  restrictions  of  trade  would  vanish;  we  should  take 
your  Wines,  your  fruits  and  surplusage  of  other  articles:  and 
give  you  in  return  our  oils,  our  Fish,  Tobacco,  naval  stores  &ca.; 
and  in  like  manner  we  should  exchange  produce  with  other 
Countries,  to  our  reciprocal  advantage:  the  Globe  is  large 
enough,  why  then  need  we  wrangle  for  a  small  spot  of  it  ?  If 
one  Country  cannot  contain  us  another  should  open  its  arms 
to  us.  But  these  halcyon  days  (if  they  ever  did  exist)  are  now 
no  more;  a  wise  providence,  I  presume,  has  ordered  it  other- 
wise, and  we  must  go  on  in  the  old  way  disputing,  and  now  and 
then  fighting,  until  the  Globe  itself  is  dissolved. 

I  rarely  go  from  home;  but  my  friends  in  and  out  of  Con- 
gress sometimes  tell  me  what  is  on  the  carpet;  to  hand  it  to 
you  afterwards  would  be  a  circuitous  mode,  and  altogether 
idle,  as  I  am  persuaded  you  have  correspondents  at  New  York 
who  give  it  to  you  at  first  hand,  and  can  relate  it  with  more 
clearness  and  perspicuity  than  I  can.  I  give  the  chief  of  my 
time  to  rural  amusements;  but  I  have  lately  been  active  in  in- 
stituting a  plan  which,  if  success  attends  it  and  of  which  I  have 
no  doubt,  may  be  productive  of  great  political  as  well  as  com- 
mercial advantages  to  the  States  on  the  Atlantic,  especially  the 
middle  ones;  it  is  the  extending  and  improving  the  inland 


navigations  of  the  rivers  Potomac  and  James,  and  communi- 
cating them  with  the  Western  waters  by  the  shortest  and  easiest 
portages  and  good  roads.  Acts  have  passed  the  Assemblies  of 
Virginia  and  Maryland  authorising  private  Adventurers  to  un- 
dertake the  work;  Companies  in  consequence  have  been  incor- 
porated; and  that  on  this  river  is  begun,  but  when  we  come  to 
the  difficult  parts  of  it  we  shall  require  an  Engineer  of  skill  and 
practical  knowledge  in  this  branch  of  business;  and  from  that 
Country  where  these  kind  of  improvements  have  been  con- 
ducted with  the  greatest  success.  With  every  great  esteem  and 
regard,  I  have  the  honor,  etc.36 


Mount  Vernon,  September  7, 1785. 

My  dear  Count:  Since  I  had  the  honor  to  address  you  last,  I 
have  been  favored  with  your  letters  of  the  9th.  of  Septr.  and 
24th.  of  Feby.  The  first  enclosing  a  list  of  the  New  promotions, 
and  additional  members  of  the  Society  of  the  Cincinnati  as 
consented  by  the  King;  for  which  I  thank  you,  as  it  will  en- 
able me  to  give  answers  to  those  Gentlemen  who,  unacquainted 
I  presume,  with  his  Majesty's  pleasure,  are  still  offering  to  me 
their  pretensions  to  be  admitted  into  this  Order. 

Every  occasion  that  assures  me  of  your  health,  encreases  my 
happiness,  as  I  have  a  sincere  respect,  and  an  affectionate  re- 
gard for  you.  My  time  now,  as  the  Marquis  de  la  Fayette  has 
informed  you,  is  spent  in  rural  employments,  and  in  contem- 
plation of  those  friendships  which  the  revolution  enabled  me 
to  form  with  so  many  worthy  characters  of  your  Nation, 
through  whose  assistance  I  can  now  sit  down  in  my  calm 

38 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


retreat;  and  under  my  own  Vine,  and  my  own  fig  tree,  enjoy 
those  pleasures  which  are  rarely  to  be  found  in  the  more  active 
pursuits  of  life,  on  a  larger  theatre. 

I  hope  the  storms  which  rumbled  about  you  all  the  Winter, 
and  wch.  seemed  to  portend  so  much  mischief,  are  dispersed; 
and  that  a  tranquil  sky  has  succeeded.  Although  it  is  against 
the  profession  of  Arms,  I  wish  to  see  all  the  World  in  Peace. 
How  long  this  blessing  may  be  dispensed  to  us,  I  know  not, 
the  British  still  hold  the  Posts  upon  the  Lakes,  within  the  Ter- 
ritory of  the  United  States;  and  discover  no  inclination  (that 
has  come  to  my  knowledge)  of  giving  them  up.  With  respect 
to  the  Spaniards,  I  do  not  think  the  Navigation  of  the  Missis- 
sippi is  an  object  of  great  importance  at  present,  when  it  be- 
comes so,  when  the  Banks  of  the  Ohio  are  thick  settled,  and 
when  the  fertile  plains  of  that  Western  Country  are  covered 
with  people  they  will  not  be  deprived  of  natural  advantages. 

I  am  very  thankful  for  the  polite  attentions  of  Madame  de 
Rochambeau,  to  whom  I  pray  you  to  present  my  best  respects, 
and  to  any  of  our  worthy  compatriots  in  the  late  War.  Mrs. 
Washington,  sensible  of  your  kind  remembrance  of  her,  begs 
you  to  accept  her  Compliments.  With  sincere  friendship  and 
perfect  attachment  I  am  etc. 

I  take  the  liberty  of  putting  the  enclosed  letter  under  your 
cover  as  it  contains  original  papers  wch.  might  be  a  loss  to 
Captn.  de  Pusignan.37 


Mount  Vernon,  September  7, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  The  man  who  at  present  lives  with  me  in  the  ca- 
pacity of  a  Housekeeper,  or  Household  Steward,  will  leave  me 

37  From  the  original  in  the  Rochambeau  Papers. 

1785]  A   STEWARD  NEEDED  257 

in  a  day  or  two;  which  (until  his  place  can  be  supplied)  will 
throw  a  great  additional  weight  on  Mrs.  Washington.  I  there- 
fore beg,  if  you,  or  Mr.  Moyston,38  should  have  met  with  a  per- 
son whom  you  think  would  answer  my  purposes  (as  described 
in  my  former  letters)  that  you  would  engage  him,  or  her  ab- 
solutely instead  of  conditionally,  and  send  him  (or  her)  abso- 
lutely, instead  of  conditionally,  and  send  him  on  by  the  Stage. 
In  the  meanwhile,  if  one  should  offer  to  my  liking  here,  my 
engagement  shall  be  conditional.  No  disappointmt.  therefore 
can  happen  to  the  person  engaged  by  you. 

Inclosed  is  a  letter  to  Mr.  Frauncis  (als.  black  Sam)  late  of 
New  York,  now  of  some  place  in  the  Jerseys.  I  leave  it  open 
for  your  perusal,  to  be  forwarded,  or  destroyed,  as  circum- 
stances may  require.  If  you  should  have  succeeded  at  Phila- 
delphia, or  are  in  the  way  of  doing  so,  the  latter  will  take  place ; 
if  not,  the  sooner  it  can  be  got  to  his  hands,  the  better.  My  best 
respects,  in  which  Mrs.  Washington  joins,  are  offered  to  Mrs. 
Biddle.  I  am  etc.  [h.s.pj 


Mount  Vernon,  September  7, 1785. 
Sir:  As  no  person  can  judge  better,  of  the  qualifications  nec- 
essary to  constitute  a  good  Housekeeper,  or  Household  stew- 
ard, than  yourself,  for  a  family  which  has  a  good  deal  of  com- 
pany and  wishes  to  entertain  them  in  a  plain,  but  genteel  style; 
I  take  the  liberty  of  asking  you  if  there  is  any  such  an  one 
within  your  reach,  whom  you  think  could  be  induced  to  come 
to  me  on  reasonable  wages.  I  would  rather  have  a  man  than  a 
woman,  but  either  will  do,  if  they  can  be  recommended  for 
their  honesty,  sobriety,  and  knowledge  of  their  profession; 

^Edward  Moyston. 


which  in  one  word,  is  to  relieve  Mrs.  Washington  from  the 
drudgery  of  ordering  and  seeing  the  Table  properly  covered, 
and  things  ceconomically  used:  nothing  more  therefore  need 
be  said  to  inform  you  of  a  character  that  would  suit  me,  than 
what  is  already  mentioned. 

The  wages  I  now  give  to  a  man  who  is  about  to  leave  me  in 
order  to  get  married  (under  which  circumstances  he  would 
not  suit  me)  is  about  one  hundred  Dollars  pr.  annum;  but  for 
one  who  understands  the  business  perfectly,  and  stands  fore  in 
all  other  respects,  I  would  go  as  far  as  one  hundred  and  twenty 
five  dollars.  Sometime  ago  I  wrote  to  Colo.  Biddle,  and  to  Mr. 
Moyston  (who  keeps  the  City  Tavern  in  Philada.)  to  try  if 
they  could  procure  me  such  a  person  as  I  want;  I  therefore  beg, 
if  you  know  of  one  that  would  suit  me,  and  is  to  be  had  upon 
the  terms  above,  and  who  can  attend  properly  to  a  large  family 
(for  mine  is  such,  with  a  good  many  workmen),  that  you 
would  immediately  inform  Colo.  Biddle  of  it  before  any  en- 
gagement is  entered  into  by  you  on  my  behalf,  lest  one  should 
be  provided  at  Philada.  and  embarrassments  arise  from  the  dif- 
ferent engagements.  I  am  sorry  to  give  you  so  much  trouble, 
but  I  hope  you  will  excuse  it  in,  Sir  Yr.  etc.39 


Mount  Vernon,  September  8, 1785. 
Sir:  I  have  lately  been  honored  with  your  favors  of  the  10th 
and  15th  of  March.  Until  the  latter  explained  the  mistake  of 
the  former,  I  was  puzzled  to  get  at  the  meaning  of  it;  because, 
I  did  not  recollect  that  I  had  ever  made  application  to  your 
Son  for  the  loan  of  any  money;  but  since  the  subject  has  been 
started,  I  will  take  the  liberty  of  pursuing  it. 

^From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  DISMAL  SWAMP  LOAN  259 

I  am  a  member  of  a  Company  in  this  State,  who  associated 
many  years  ago  for  the  purpose  of  reclaiming  what  is  called 
the  Great  Dismal  Swamp  near  Norfolk.  The  war  gave  consid- 
erable interruption,  indeed  almost  put  an  entire  stop  to  the 
progress  of  the  business;  but  in  May  last  the  members  (for  the 
first  time  since  the  war)  had  a  meeting,  and  resolved  to  prose- 
cute the  work  with  vigor:  for  this  purpose  they  are  inclined  to 
borrow  money  on  interest;  and  to  import,  if  they  can  do  it 
upon  advantageous  terms,  a  number  of  Hollanders,  or  Ger- 
mans, as  being  best  acquainted  with  the  nature  of  the  work; 
which  is  to  drain  and  bank  level,  low  and  wet  land,  which 
would  from  its  situation,  and  the  quality  of  its  soil,  be  invalu- 
able if  accomplished. 

Individually,  the  members  possess  considerable  property,  as 
a  company  they  have  little  money  at  command;  but  would  I 
believe,  bind  themselves  jointly  and  severally  for  the  repay- 
ment of  the  principal  sum  borrowed,  in  a  given  number  of 
years;  and  for  such  interest  as  may  be  agreed  upon  annually: 
and  as  a  collateral  security  they  would  moreover,  I  imagine, 
mortgage  the  Estate  which  they  are  about  to  improve. 

Under  this  Statement  of  the  matter,  permit  me  to  ask  you 
frankly,  if  four  or  five  thousand  pounds  could  be  borrowed  in 
Amsterdam;  at  what  interest  and  for  how  long  a  term?  and 
whether  it  is  a  matter  which  could  be  easily  accomplished,  to 
import  about  three  hundred  laborers  (a  few  women  among 
them  would  be  no  objection),  for  what  time  they  might  be 
engaged  and  upon  what  wages?  and  what  expence  would 
attend  the  importation? 

Since  my  last  to  you  I  have  had  the  pleasure  of  your  son's 
company  at  this  place ;  he  appeared  at  the  time  to  be  in  good 
health,  and  I  hope  has  been  able  to  put  your  business  in  this 
Country  on  a  more  favourable  footing,  than  your  letter  of  the 


15th.  of  June  last  year  indicated;  in  a  word,  I  hope  it  is  placed 
on  as  good  a  footing  as  the  nature  of  the  case  will  admit.  I 
have  the  honor,  etc.40 


Mount  Vernon,  September  10, 1785. 
Dear  Sir :  The  enclosed  was  put  into  my  hands  yesterday;  and 
I  take  the  liberty  of  forwarding  it  by  the  post  today,  hoping  if 
no  person  is  appointed  in  the  place  of  Mr.  Massey,  that  your 
Excellency  for  the  reason  assigned  by  the  Maryland  Commrs. 
and  on  account  of  the  advanced  season,  will  cause  it  to  be  done 
as  soon  as  convenient.41  With  very  great  esteem  and  respect, 
I  have  the  honor,  etc.40 


Mount  Vernon,  September  10, 1785. 

Gentn:  Your  favor  of  the  30th.  ulto.  did  not  reach  me  until 
the  8th.  instant;  I  went  the  next  day  to  Alexandria  and  laid  it 
before  Colos.  Fitzgerald  and  Gilpin,  who  with  himself,  ac- 
ceded fully  to  the  propriety  of  your  proposal  of  buying  serv- 
ants. Of  this,  the  Secretary  was  directed  to  inform  you;  also 
of  our  sentiments  respecting  the  hire  of  negroes  by  the  year, 
and  to  ask  your  opinion  of  the  number  necessary,  and  of  the 
terms  on  which  to  employ  them. 

Colo.  Gilpin  has  lately  seen  Mr.  Stuart,  who  informed  him 
that  fifty  hands  were  then  employed  at  Seneca,  and  in  his 
opinion  going  on  very  well  until  the  waters  were  swelled  by 

40 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

41  Henry  answered  (September  26):  "Your  Favor  covering  Mr.  Deakins's  Letter  I 
received  this  Morning.  As  soon  as  Mr.  Massey's  Resignation  was  handed  to  me,  the 
Appointment  of  Mr.  Neville  was  made  and  sent  out  to  him  with  a  Copy  of  the  Resolu- 
tion of  Assembly."  Henry's  letter  is  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


1785]  THE  OHIO  LANDS  261 

the  late  rains.  He  and  I  (if  I  am  not  prevented  by  company 
which  I  have  some  reason  to  expect  about  that  time)  intend  to 
be  at  Seneca  on  Wednesday  the  21st.,  and  at  the  Great  Falls  at 
Eight  oclock  next  morning;  where  we  are  to  meet  Colo.  Fitz- 
gerald for  the  purpose  of  viewing  for  our  private  satisfaction, 
the  place  talked  of  for  the  Canal;  and  the  water  between  the 
Great  and  little  falls.  Mr.  Stuart  informed  Colo.  Gilpin  that 
he  had  never  seen  the  Butcher  from  Fredk.  town;  nor  had  he 
received  an  ounce  of  provisions  from  him. 

I  am  sorry  to  receive  so  unfavourable  a  report  from  Shenan- 
doah as  your  letter  contains;  I  hope  it  will  mend,  or  the  cause 
must  be  removed.  If  the  health  of  Mr.  Johnson,  and  the  cir- 
cumstances of  Mr.  Lee  would  permit  them  to  visit  that  place 
now  and  then;  it  would,  I  am  persuaded,  have  a  happy  effect: 
the  eye  of  a  Director  will  be  of  service  to  the  Conductors. 
With  very  great  esteem  and  regard,  I  am,  etc.42 


Mount  Vernon,  September  10, 1785. 

Sir:  My  last  letter  to  you  was  so  full,  that  I  should  not  have 
troubled  you  again  at  this  early  period,  but  to  observe  as  I  did 
before,  that  upon  reading  the  Proclamation  which  I  then  en- 
closed (and  which  I  had  scarce  time  to  run  over  before  it  was 
dispatched),  it  appeared  to  me  that  as  it  forbid  in  general 
terms,  the  settlement  of  Lands  upon  the  western  waters,  it 
might  be  necessary  for  me  to  adduce  the  subsequent  Act  of  the 
King's  Governor;  by  which  the  military  rights  under  that 
Proclamation  were  recognized,  and  exempted  from  the  re- 
striction thereof.  Accordingly,  I  wrote  to  our  Attorney  Gen- 
eral Mr.  Randolph,  for  a  certified  copy  thereof;  under  which 

^From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


the  warrants  for  surveying  these  claims  were  directed  to  be 
issued;  but  in  some  measure  he  misconceived  my  request. 
However,  his  answer  and  reasoning  applies  with  as  much  force 
to  the  order  of  Council,  as  it  does  to  the  instruction  which  gave 
rise  to  it;  I  therefore  send  his  letters  with  a  Certificate  of  the 
Governor  and  the  seal  of  the  Commonwealth  to  give  validity 
to  the  Acts  wch.  have  been  already  forwarded  to  you  from  the 
Registers  office  under  the  direction  of  Mr.  Harvie. 

My  title  to  the  Land  in  dispute,  in  my  own  judgment,  is  so 
clear,  that  I  can  scarce  conceive  what  my  opponents  will  urge, 
that  can  have  the  least  weight  with  an  impartial  Count  and 
Jury;  but  as  I  apprehend  there  will  be  some  management  in 
obtaining  the  latter,  it  may  not  be  amiss  to  apprize  you,  that 
from  my  best  information  (and  a  gentleman  on  whom  I  can 
depend,  told  me  that  he  had  it  from  Mr.  Prothonotary  Scott, 
brother  to  my  principal  opponent)  a  majority  of  the  occupants 
settled  on  the  Land  after  my  Patent  had  actually  issued,  and 
consequently  in  his  opinion,  could  not  have  the  shadow  of  a 
claim.  Putting  my  military  right  then,  and  all  the  steps  which 
were  taken  in  consequence  of  it,  out  of  the  question;  my  im- 
provement (admitting  there  never  was  more  than  one)  which 
stands  on  the  Land  to  this  day,  and  which  was  acknowledged 
by  themselves  to  be  there  when  the  Defendants  first  came  to  it, 
will  entitle  me,  for  settlement  and  pre-emption  rights,  to  1400 
acres  under  our  Laws,  as  you  may  perceive  by  the  authentic 
documents  already  sent  you:  and  these  1400  acres,  without 
the  aid  of  an  irregular  form  and  unnatural  extension,  would 
comprehend  James  Scott's  farm,  and  I  presume  all  those  which 
were  seated  before  I  obtained  my  Patent.  It  appears  to  me 
therefore  that  in  one  way  or  other,  they  must  be  overthrown. 

It  has  been  reported  to  me  (and  as  report  only  I  give  it)  that 
the  Defendants  are  preparing  to  remove  off.  Whether,  if  true, 


the  measure  proceeds  from  a  conviction  of  the  futility  of  their 
claim,  or  that  they  mean  to  be  prepared  against  the  worst,  or, 
as  it  was  said  whilst  I  was  out,  their  only  design  was  to  gain 
time,  I  shall  not  decide:  but  be  it  as  it  may,  as  they  have  with- 
held the  Land  from  me  ten  or  twelve  years  after  all  the  admo- 
nition I  could  give,  and  the  favorable  offers  which  have  been 
made  them,  and  finally  have  put  me  to  the  expence  and  trouble 
of  bringing  and  supporting  Ejectments,  it  is  my  wish  and  de- 
sire, whether  they  leave  the  land  voluntarily,  or  are  compelled 
to  do  so  by  a  course  of  Law,  that  you  will  sue  them  respectively 
for  Trespasses,  rents  or  otherwise  as  you  shall  judge  best  and 
most  proper  to  obtain  justice  for  me.  I  should  be  glad  to  hear 
that  this  and  my  former  letter  had  got  safe  to  hand.  I  am,  etc.43 


Mount  Vernon,  September  14, 1785. 

Sir:  Colo.  Wm.  Fitzhugh  of  Maryland  has  this  day  requested 
me,  to  enter  his  name  for  one  share  of  the  Potomac  navigation; 
of  which  I  give  you  this  information:  he  has  also  deposited  in 
my  hands  ten  pounds  for  the  first  and  second  advances  there- 
on; which  I  will  pay  you  when  I  come  next  to  town,  or  to  your 
order  at  any  time. 

I  should  take  it  very  kind  of  you  to  forward  the  enclosed 
letter  by  the  first  safe  consequence;  it  contains  a  summons  of 
some  consequence  to  me,  I  am,  etc.43 


Mount  Vernon,  September  14, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  Mr.  Rawlins  brought  me  your  favor  of  the  31st. 
ulto.,  and  I  thank  you  for  sending  him;  he  is  to  furnish  me  a 

43 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


design  for  my  room,  and  an  estimate  of  the  cost;  after  which 
I  shall  be  better  able  to  make  an  estimate  of  his  conscience. 
When  Mr.  ODonnal44  has  determin'd  on  his  plan,  I  shall  ex- 
pect to  hear  from  you. 

Enclosed  is  the  packet  mentioned  in  my  last,  for  Mr.  Smith 
of  Carlisle  which  I  pray  you  to  send  by  a  safe  rather  than  the 
first  opportunity  which  may  offer  to  that  place. 

With  great  truth  I  am,  etc. 

P.  S.  Since  writing  the  above,  Mr.  Fitzhugh  of  your  State 
has  informed  Mrs.  Washington  that  there  is,  or  was  very  fine 
and  pretty  Dimmity  Muslin  selling  on  board  the  Indian  Ship 
at  half  a  dollar  pr.  yard:  if  this  is  now  the  case,  she  desires  me 
to  tell  you  that  she  would  be  much  obliged  to  you  for  getting 
her  two  or  three  pieces.45 


Mount  Vernon,  September  16,  1785. 

Dear  Sir:  It  was  not  in  my  power  to  obtain  the  enclosed  in 
time,  to  forward  them  by  the  last  mail;  but  they  will,  I  hope, 
reach  you  seasonably  for  your  intended  meeting  on  the  26th, 
by  the  present  mail. 

I  feel  very  sensibly,  the  honor  and  confidence  which  has 
been  reposed  in  me  by  the  James  river  company;  and  regret 
that  it  will  not  be  in  my  power  to  discharge  the  duties  of  the 
office  of  President  of  the  Board  of  Directors,  with  that  punctu- 
ality and  attention  which  the  trust  requires.  Every  service 
however  that  I  can  render,  compatible  with  my  other  avoca- 
tions, shall  be  afforded  with  pleasure,  and  I  am  happy  in  being 
associated  in  the  business  with  Gentlemen  so  competent  to  the 
purposes  of  their  appointment,  and  from  what  I  have  heard  of 


45 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  POTOMAC  FALLS  265 

the  navigation,  and  seen  of  the  Falls,  I  think  your  work  may 
be  soon  and  easily  accomplished,  and  that  it  will  be  of  great 
public  utility,  as  well  as  private  emolument  to  the  subscribers 
when  done:  for  the  advantage  of  both,  tho'  I  believe  the  busi- 
ness lies  in  another  line,  I  would  earnestly  recommend  it  to  you 
to  press  the  execution  of  the  survey  between  James  river  and  the 
navigable  waters  of  the  Kanhawa,  and  a  proper  investigation 
of  the  latter.  It  will  be  a  source  of  great  commerce  with  the 
capitol  and  in  my  opinion  will  be  productive  of  great  political 
consequences  to  this  country :  the  business  of  a  similar  nature, 
as  it  respects  this  river,  is  at  an  entire  stand.  Mr.  Massey  who 
was  first  appointed  on  the  part  of  this  State,  having  declined 
acting;  the  Maryland  Commissioner  knows  of  no  other  in  his 
room,  and  is  unable,  tho'  ready  to  proceed. 

Besides  what  appears  in  the  minutes,  which  are  enclosed,  it 
is  in  contemplation  by  the  Board  of  Directors  of  the  Naviga- 
tion of  this  river,  to  endeavor  to  hire  a  number  of  Slaves  next 
year  as  laborers  therein,  and  as  the  Great  Falls  are  tremendous, 
and  the  navigation  thereof,  in  whatever  manner  it  is  attempted, 
will  require  much  skill  and  practical  knowledge  in  the  execu- 
tion; we  propose,  before  this  is  undertaken,  to  invite  a  proper 
person  from  Europe,  who  has  been  employed  in  works  of  this 
kind,  as  a  superintendant  of  it:  With  respect  to  the  other  parts 
of  the  river,  tho'  what  are  called  the  Shanandoah  Falls  are  as 
difficult  in  my  opinion  as  the  Falls  of  James  river,  at  Westham, 
we  seem  to  have  confidence  enough  in  ourselves  to  undertake 
them;  and  mean  to  do  so  without  having  recourse  to  either 
canals  or  Locks.  Thro'  all  the  Falls  and  rapids  above  the  Great 
jails,  we  mean  to  attempt  nothing  more  than  to  open  a  strait 
passage  to  avoid,  as  much  as  possible,  currents;  giving  suffi- 
cient depth,  and  as  much  smoothness  as  may  be  to  the  surface; 
and  if  Rumsey's  project  fails  (of  which  he  has  not  the  smallest 


apprehension)  to  pull  the  Boats  up  by  chains  floated  by  buoys: 
the  latter,  when  Ice  begins  to  form,  may  be  slipped  and  thereby 
saved;  whilst  the  former  rivoted  to  rocks  at  bottom,  may  re- 
main during  the  intemperate  season  undisturbed  and  without 

Upon  an  estimate  of  the  expence  of  those  chains  and  Buoys, 
we  (that  is,  the  Directors  of  the  Potomac  navigation  and  my- 
self) are  of  the  opinion,  without  having  an  eye  to  the  probable 
advantages  which  are  expected  to  be  derived  from  Rumsey's 
mechanical  discovery,  that  it  will  be  infinitely  less  than  what 
must  arise  from  cutting  canals,  building  Locks,  making  track 
paths,  &c,  as  was  the  design  of  Ballendine  and  others;  and  will 
have  this  advantage  over  them,  that  when  once  done,  that  is 
when  the  passage  is  opened  in  a  straight  direction  in  the  nat- 
ural bed  of  the  river,  it  is  done  as  it  were  forever,  whereas  canals 
and  Locks,  besides  the  natural  decay  of  them,  are  exposed  to 
much  injury  from  Ice,  drift-wood,  and  even  the  common 
freshes;  in  a  word,  are  never  safe  where  there  are  such  sudden 
inundations  and  violent  torrents,  as  the  rivers  in  this  country 
are  subject  to. 

It  has  so  happened  that  Thursday  the  22d  inst.  is  a  day  of  my 
own  appointing  to  meet  the  Directors  at  the  Great  Falls  of  this 
river,  for  the  purpose  of  examining  the  place  proposed  for  a 
canal;  and  the  river  and  ground  from  thence  to  tide  water,  on 
which  business  I  expect  to  be  employed  (at  least  to  be  from 
home)  four  or  five  days. 

Altho'  I  see  no  impropriety  myself  in  laying  the  Proceedings 
of  the  Potomac  Company  before  the  Board  of  Directors  of  the 
James  river  navigation,  it  being  my  wish  that  every  intelligence 
which  one  can  give  to  the  other  should  be  mutually  afforded; 
yet  it  is  my  desire  that  the  act  may  be  considered  as  transmitted 
for  the  private  information  (if  it  shou'd  convey  any  light)  of 
yourself  and  the  Directors. 

1785]  WORK  ON  POTOMAC  267 

We  are  endeavoring  to  engage  our  miners  to  bore  by  the 
foot;  rather  than  by  the  day;  but  as  yet  have  not  agreed  with 
any  in  this  way:  they  ask  a  shilling,  which  we  think  is  too 
much  to  common  labourers  we  pay  40/  per  month;  and  we 
find  paying  the  workmen  every  fortnight,  rather  troublesome 
once  a  month  would  do  better:  as  they  will  be  frequently  mov- 
ing, we  have  provided  Tents  as  most  convenient  and  least 
expensive,  for  their  accommodation. 

I  find  I  have  been  under  a  mistake  with  respect  to  the  sub- 
scriptions for  the  James  river  navigation;  I  conceived  the 
Books  were  to  lie  open  'till  the  general  meeting  appointed  (as 
that  for  this  river  was)  by  law;  and  if  the  aggregate  amounted 
to  more  than  the  sum  required  by  the  act,  at  such  meeting  they 
were  then  to  be  reduced  in  the  manner  therein  directed. 

The  expression  of  the  Law,  "  the  highest  point  practicable," 
is  certainly  too  indefinite;  and  in  the  hurry  which  the  act 
passed,  the  import  of  it  was  not  sufficiently  adverted  to:  but 
how  far  it  may  be  politic  for  the  Potomac  Company  to  meddle 
in  the  matter,  I  will  not  at  this  moment  undertake  to  decide; 
as  the  concurrence  of  two  States  is  required  to  effect  the  Alter- 
ation, and  as  one  of  them,  it  is  said  by  those  who  are  unfriendly 
to  the  measure,  has  been  surprized  into  it. 

If  it  would  not  be  too  troublesome  for  your  Secretary,  it 
would  be  a  satisfaction  to  me  to  receive  a  copy  of  your  proceed- 
ings, With  great  esteem  and  sincere  friendship,  I  am,  &C.46 


Mount  Vernon,  September  18, 1785. 
Sir:  I  have  received  two  or  three  letters  from  you  of  late.  The 
clover  Seed  which  was  sent  to  the  care  of  Mr.  Hartshorne  I 

^From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


have  got,  and  am  obliged  by  the  dispatch  with  which  you  have 
sent  it. 

The  great  inattention  to  my  Tenants  during  the  nine  years 
that  I  was  absent,  and  the  traffick  which  they  made  of  my  Land 
(expressly  contrary  to  the  Tenor  of  my  Leases)  renders  it  next 
to  impossible  for  me  without  being  upon  the  Land,  and  obtain- 
ing oral  information,  to  make  out  the  Accts.  or  discover  in 
whose  possession  the  Lotts  now  are  precisely.  The  best  sketch 
I  can  give,  is  herewith  enclosed;  but  I  do  not  suppose  to  be 

The  Man  from  whom  you  could  have  obtained  the  best  in- 
formation respecting  the  Tenants,  their  arrearages  of  Rent, 
Transferances,  &ca.  on  that  Tract  of  Land  which  I  hold  in 
Ashby's  bend  (partly  in  Fauquier  and  partly  in  Loudoun  Coun- 
ties) was  one  Lewis  Lamart,  but  he  died  last  Spring,  after  hav- 
ing Collected  some  of  the  Rents  for  me;  to  whom  to  advise  you 
in  the  next  place,  I  am  at  a  loss;  Captn.  Robert  Ashby  has  a 
pretty  good  knowledge  of  some  matters,  but  either  he  or  one  of 
his  Son's,  stands  I  believe  among  the  list  of  delinquents,  which 
may  render  his  information  dubious  where  his  knowledge  is 
most  perfect. 

Besides  the  Lotts  and  Tenants  mentioned  in  the  list  enclosed, 
there  are,  or  ought  to  be,  several  more  of  the  latter  on  a  Tract 
I  have  on  Chattins  run  of  Goose  Creek,  adjoining  Captn.  Rob- 
ert Ashby;  among  whom,  I  presume  the  Rectors  are.  But  with 
respect  to  this  Land,  I  can  give  less  information  than  on  any 
other.  Whether  any  Leases  have  ever  been  given,  or  not,  I  am 
unable  to  say.  What  follows,  is  taken  from  a  Memorandum 
which  I  found  tied  up  in  the  bundle  of  Leases. 

Memm.  March  16th.  1774. 

Agreed  with  one Thompson  for  the  Land  at  the  upper  end  of  my 

Chattins  run  Tract;  That  is  to  give  him  a  lease  for  it  at  the  rate  of  ^5  pr. 


hundd.  Acres.  He  is  to  have  all  the  Land  So.  Wt.  of  the  branch  which 
runs  through  the  Tract,  unless  there  should  be  enough  for  two  lotts;  in 
which  case  he  is  to  have  but  one  Lott.  Rent  to  be  pd.  the  25th  Deer.  1777. 
Also  agreed  to  let  Edwd.  Grymes  have  the  Lott  he  lives  on,  extending 
towards  Chattins  run  and  Ashbys  Mill  path  for  quantity.  He  also  is 
to  have  a  lease,  and  to  pay  at  the  rate  of  ^5  pr.  hundd.  acres  next 

Also  agreed  to  Lease  Enoch  Ashby  150,  or  200  acs.  upon  the  back  line, 
and  middle  run;  he  paying  at  the  rate  of  ^5  pr.  hundd.  to  commence  the 
25th.  Deer.  1777. 

Also  was  spoke  to  for  the  Lott  adjoining  this  and  Edwd.  Grymes's,  by 
Robt.  Ashby  for  one  Richard  Watts  upon  the  same  terms. 

The  foregoing  was  taken  upon  the  Land  at  the  time  I  was 
there  for  the  purpose  of  renting  it,  but  what  has  happened 
since,  as  I  have  observed  to  you  before,  I  am  unable  to  inform 
you.  I  am  willing  to  preserve  good  faith  with  every  Tenant; 
and  am  ready  to  fulfil  all  my  engagements  with  them,  not  only 
such  as  are  legal  and  just,  but  those  that  are  honorable,  nay 
more,  such  as  have  no  other  claim  but  upon  my  generosity, 
where  there  shall  appear  a  proper  conduct  on  their  part.  But 
where  you  shall  find  they  have  taken  advantage  of  me  by  pay- 
ing paper  money  when  Six  pence  on  a  Shilling  would  pay  a 
pound,  where  they  have  paid  little  or  no  Rents  at  all,  and  their 
sole  aim  seems  to  have  been  to  make  a  prey  of  me,  by  bartering 
and  selling  my  Land,  solely  for  their  own  emolument,  I  should 
have  no  scruple  in  any  of  those  cases,  or  any  other,  which  shall 
appear  unjustifiable,  to  take  advantage  of  the  Covenants  in  the 
Leases  where  they  have  been  given;  and  to  refuse  them  when 
they  have  not,  set  them  aside,  and  Re-Rent  the  Land  to  the 
highest  bidder,  and  best  possible  advantage  to  my  Interest. 

Enclosed  I  send  you  a  short  power,  which  may  do  for  the 
present;  and  when  you  come  down  in  October  it  may  be  en- 
larged, and  some  further  light  perhaps,  thrown  on  this  busi- 
ness. You  will  observe  that  the  list  inclosed  does  not  include 


the  Rents  of  the  present  year.  Except  in  cases  where  the  Ten- 
ants are  about  to  remove,  and  the  rents  thereby  or  by  other 
means  are  endangered;  I  would  wish  to  avoid  making  distress 
until  you  have  more  precise  information,  and  have  had  an  in- 
terview with  me  in  October;  for  besides  the  Ballances  which 
appear  to  be  due  by  the  inclosed  list,  many  of  my  Leases  require 
an  Alienation  Rent  for  every  transference;  which,  at  present, 
I  have  not  time  to  look  into;  but  will  prepare  by  October;  at 
which  time  I  will  put  the  Leases  into  your  hands.  In  the  mean- 
while, it  would  be  well  for  you  to  examine  each  Tenant,  that 
I  may  know  by  what  authority  he  came  on  the  Tenement, 
how  far  he  has  complied  with  the  Covenants  of  the  Lease,  what 
Transferences  have  taken  place,  and  what  Rents  (by  their  re- 
ceipts, or  authentic  proofs  which  no  doubt  every  one  of  them 
can  shew)  has  been  paid.  By  doing  this  some  line  of  conduct 
may  be  adopted  which  will  avoid  evil  and  bad  consequences 
either  to  the  tenant  or  myself.  I  am  etc. 

PS.  If  you  could  transmit,  previously  to  your  coming  down, 
an  account  of  the  information  you  get,  on  the  above  points,  the 
accts.  may  be  prepared  against  you  arrive  here  in  Octooer.47 


[September  18, 1785.] 
I  do  hereby  authorize,  constitute  and  appoint  Mr.  Battaile 
Muse  to  be  collector  of  my  rents  in  the  Counties  of  Berkeley, 
Frederick,  Loudon  and  Fauquier:  and  do  by  these  presents  em- 
power him  to  settle  with  the  Tenants,  and  to  make  distress  for 
the  rents  on  all  cases  where  it  shall  be  found  necessary.  I  also 
empower  him  to  rent  any  of  my  Lotts  which  are  now  vacant; 

"From  a  photostat  of  the  original  kindly  furnished  by  William  Randolph  Hearst, 
of  New  York  City. 


and  where  he  shall  find  the  covenants  of  the  Leases  which 
have  already  been  granted,  unattended  to  by  the  Tenants,  and 
a  disregard  of  that  mutual  interest  which  induced  me  to  dis- 
pose of  my  Lands  on  the  terms  therein  mentioned,  whereby 
forfeitures  are  incurred;  that  he  will  use  every  just  and  proper 
means  to  set  them  aside,  and  rent  them  to  others  on  the  most 
advantageous  terms  for  my  use,  and  in  my  behalf.48 


Mount  Vernon,  September  20, 1785. 

Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  24th.  ulto.  did  not  get  to  my  hands 
until  the  17th.  inst:  and  then  came  by  the  Post,  for  Mr.  Jackson 
is  an  inhabitant  of  Red  Stone,  250  miles  distant  from  me.  I  am 
obliged  to  him  however  for  having  taken  notice  of  a  wish  of 
mine  which  was  accidentally  expressed  before  him,  more  so  to 
you  for  having  facilitated  it,  and  particularly  so  to  Mr.  Donald- 
son for  obliging  offering  to  carry  it  into  effect. 

I  have  long  been  convinced,  that  the  bed  of  the  Potomac  be- 
fore my  door,  contains  an  inexhaustable  fund  of  manure;  and 
if  I  could  adopt  an  easy,  simple  and  expeditious  method  of 
raising,  and  taking  it  to  the  land,  that  it  might  be  converted 
to  useful  purposes.  Mr.  Donaldson's  Hippopotamos49  goes  be- 
yond anything  I  had  conceiv'd  with  respect  to  the  first;  but 
whether  the  manner  of  its  working  would  answer  my  purpose 
or  not  is  the  question;  by  his  using  a  horse,  I  fear  it  will  not,  as 
I  shall  have  to  go  from  one  hundred  to  eight  hundred  or  a 
thousand  yards,  from  high  water  mark  for  the  mud;  tho'  I 
believe  any  quantity  may  be  had  at  the  lesser  distance;  the 

48 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

49Noted  in  Arthur  Donaldson's  letter  to  Washington,  Oct.  i,  1785,  with  an  engrav- 
ing o£  the  "Hippopotamos"  and  an  explanation,  clipped  from  The  Pennsylvania 
Magazine,  which  are  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


depth  of  water  at  the  greater  will  not  exceed  eight  feet,  and  not 
much  swell  unless  the  wind  is  turbulent. 

Under  this  information,  it  would  give  me  great  satisfaction 
to  have  Mr.  Donaldson's  opinion  of  the  utility  of  his  Hippo- 
potamos  for  my  purposes;  as  Mud  which  is  many  feet  deep, 
and  soft,  is  to  be  raised  at  a  distance  from,  and  to  be  brought 
to  the  shore  when  the  tide  is  up,  in  vessels  which  draw  but 
little  water.  And  he  would  add  to  the  favor  (if  the  machine 
is  applicable  to  my  wants)  by  informing  me  what  kind  of  a 
vessel  is  necessary  for  its  operation;  what  would  be  the  cost  of 
this  vessel,  and  of  the  machine  I  should  have  to  use  on  it; 
whether  by  a  model  the  whole  could  be  constructed  by  in- 
genious workmen  here;  or  whether  it  must  be  done  under  his 
own  eye,  and  in  the  latter  case,  what  would  be  the  additional 
expence  of  getting  them  from  Philadelphia  to  this  place. 

The  kind  offer  of  Mr.  Donaldson,  for  which  I  pray  you  to 
return  him  my  sincere  thanks,  of  furnishing  me  with  a  model, 
or  other  information;  and  your  obliging  communication  there- 
of has  drawn  upon  you  both  this  trouble;  instead  therefore  of 
apologizing  for  giving  it,  I  will  assure  you  that  I  have  a  grate- 
ful sense  of  the  kindness  of  you  both  and  am  his  and  your  Most 
Obt.  &ca.50 


September  22, 1785. 
Sir:  If  Mr.  Jonathan  Johnson  will  give  one  hundred  Dollars 
per  ann:  for  my  tract  at  the  Great  Meadows,  he  may  have  a 
Lease  therefor,  for  the  term  of  ten  years  without  any  other 
conditions  annexed  than  those  of  reclaiming  the  Meadow  and 
putting  the  whole  under  a  good  fence;  leaving  it  to  himself 

""This  text  is  a  combination  of  that  found  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington 
Papers  and  one  printed  in  a  sales  catalogue  of  1891,  the  catalogue  being  followed 
where  it  is,  obviously,  closer  to  Washington's  original. 


to  place  such  buildings  on  the  premises  as  his  own  inclination 
may  prompt  him  to.  Or,  if  he  will  build  a  dwelling  House 
36  feet  by  24,  with  three  rooms  below  and  four  above,  with  two 
stone  chimneys,  and  fire  places  in  each  room,  the  House  to 
be  of  hewed  Logs  or  framed  work,  with  glass  windows.  A 
Kitchen  16  by  20  feet,  of  the  same  kind  of  work  with  one  stone 
chimney;  and  a  Stable  sufficient  to  contain  twelve  horses  con- 
veniently, I  will  allow  him  two  years  of  the  ten,  exempt  from 
rent.  I  am,  etc.61 


Mount  Vernon,  September  25, 1785. 

Sir:  It  is  not  fourteen  days  since  I  was  honored  with  your 
letter  of  the  16th.  of  last  Octr.  to  what  cause  the  delay  is  to  be 
ascribed  I  am  unable  to  inform  you;  but  lest  this  answer  with 
the  inclosure  should  meet  with  any  accident,  I  dispatch  it  under 
cover  to  the  Count  de  Rochambeau  at  Paris. 

I  am  sorry  Sir,  it  is  not  in  my  power  to  comply  with  your 
wishes  in  regard  to  the  Order  of  the  Cincinnati.  The  institu- 
tion itself  points  out  the  different  grades  of  Officers  who  are  to 
be  admitted  into  this  Society;  and  at  its  last  General  Meeting, 
the  members  thereof  in  France,  of  which  the  Counts  de  Ro- 
chambeau and  de  Estaing  were  placed  at  the  head;  one  in  the 
Military,  the  other  in  the  Naval  Line,  were  empowered  to  hold 
meetings  and  to  decide  upon  the  Claims  of  Officers  belonging 
to  either  department  in  that  Country. 

It  is  there  Sir,  your  pretensions  must  be  offered;  and  if  they 
are  not  precluded  by  the  determination  of  your  Sovereign,  will 
I  doubt  not,  meet  with  the  liberal  and  favourable  interpretation 
to  which  your  merit  entitled  you.  I  have  the  honor  to  be,  etc.51 

61  From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Taper s. 

B2Capt.  Alexandre  Cesar  de  Genevy  de  Pusignan.  He  had  been  lieutenant  en  second, 
Regiment  D'Auxonne,  French  allied  troops. 



Mount  Vernon,  September  25, 1785. 

Sir:  I  have  been  honored  with  the  receipt  of  your  letter  dated 
at  Paris  the  4th.  of  March;  and  pray  you  to  accept  my  thanks 
for  those  copies  of  your  Dramatic  performance53  which  you 
had  the  goodness  to  send  me,  and  in  which  you  have  made 
such  honorable  and  flattering  mention  of  my  name. 

I  lament  Sir,  that  my  merits  are  not  equal  to  your  praises, 
and  regret  exceedingly  that  my  deficiency  in  the  knowledge  of 
the  French  language  does  not  allow  me  to  become  master 
of  the  Drama,  and  of  those  sentiments  which  I  am  told  are 
beautifully  expressed  in  it  by  the  author.  Upon  my  gratitude 
you  have  a  large  claim  for  those  expressions  of  esteem  with 
which  your  letter  is  replete,  and  which,  from  a  Gentleman 
who  professes  not  to  compliment,  are  the  more  to  be  valued. 
I  have  the  honor,  etc.54 


Mount  Vernon,  September  25, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  Amid  the  public  gratulations  on  your  safe  return 
to  America,  after  a  long  absence  and  the  many  eminent  services 
you  have  rendered  it,  for  which  as  a  benefited  person  I  feel 
the  obligation,  permit  an  individual  to  join  the  public  voice  in 
expressing  a  sense  of  them;  and  to  assure  you,  that,  as  no  one 
entertains  more  respect  for  your  character,  so  none  can  salute 
you  with  more  sincerity,  or  with  greater  pleasure,  than  I  do  on 
the  occasion.  With  the  highest  regard  and  greatest  considera- 
tion, I  am,  &c.54 

raSee  Washington's  letter  to  the  President  of  Congress,  Aug.  22,  1785,  ante. 
54 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  September  25, 1785. 

Sir:  I  have  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  favor  of  the  14th. 
from  New  York.  At  the  moment  I  congratulate  you  on  your 
late  appointment,55  and  this  fresh  instance  of  his  most  Chris- 
tian Majesty's  attention  to  your  merits,  I  cannot  but  express  my 
sorrow  that  you  are  so  near  the  eve  of  your  departure  from 

I  shall  remember  with  pleasure  Sir,  the  friendship  you  have 
always  expressed  for  me;  and  with  gratitude  shall  recollect  the 
many  instances  of  your  partiallity  and  attention  towards  me. 
I  should  receive  with  great  satisfaction  the  accot.  of  your  safe 
arrival  at  Hispaniola  and  of  every  other  event  which  can  be 
interesting  and  pleasing  to  you;  being  with  much  truth,  and 
great  esteem  and  regard  Sir  Yr.  etc.56 


Mount  Vernon,  September  25, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  15th.  of  Augt.  from  Bath,  only 
got  to  my  hands  on  Sunday  last.  The  one  alluded  to,  of  April, 
as  giving  an  acct.  of  the  miscarriage  of  the  Diplomas,57  and  the 
best  information  you  could  obtain  respecting  them,  nor  any 
other  since  that  which  accompanied  the  Parchments,  and  wch. 
received  an  immediate  acknowledgement,  have  reached  me 
at  all. 

In  a  word,  I  never  had  the  least  intimation,  or  knowledge  of 
the  accident  until  Major  Jacksons58  Letter  (copy  of  which  I 
sent  you)  was  delivered  to  me. 

^Intendant  for  Hispaniola. 

MFrom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

87  Of  the  Cincinnati. 

58  William  Jackson. 


I  have  since  enquired  of  Colo.  Fitzgerald  if  he  could  recollect 
in  whose  care  they  were  placed;  his  memory  he  says  does  not 
serve  him  on  this  occasion,  but  he  is  sure  they  were  entrusted  to 
safe  hands,  or  such  as  appeared  to  him  at  the  time  to  be  so.  It  is 
a  little  extraordinary  therefore  that  this  person,  whoever  he  may 
be,  should  not  have  given  notice  of  the  loss  either  to  him,  from 
whom  the  parcel  was  received,  or  to  you  to  whom  it  was 

It  is  to  be  feared,  under  these  circumstances,  that  neither  the 
Diploma's,  or  the  money  advanced  for  them,  will  ever  be  re- 
covered, however,  if  you  conceive  that  an  Advertisement  will 
effect  any  valuable  purpose,  or  be  satisfactory  to  the  Gentle- 
men for  whose  benefit  they  were  designed,  you  can,  as  Secre- 
tary, recite  the  event  and  request  information  from  any  who 
may  have  it  in  their  power  to  give  it.  With  great  esteem  etc. 



Mount  Vernon,  September  25, 1785. 
Sir:  Your  kind  remembrance  of  me  in  a  letter  of  the  15th.  of 
July  from  the  Island  of  Tobago,  does  me  much  honor;  at  the 
sametime  that  the  knowledge  of  your  appointment  as  Gover- 
nor of  that  place,  and  your  good  health,  gave  me  much  pleas- 
ure. I  pray  you  to  be  assured  that  nothing  which  comes  from 
Colo.  D'Arrot  can  be  considered  as  a  trouble,  and  that  to  hear, 
at  his  moments  of  leisure,  that  you  are  in  the  enjoyment  of  per- 
fect health,  and  the  smiles  of  your  Sovereign  will  always  be 
pleasing;  as  I  recollect  with  gratitude  those  instances  of  Men- 
tion with  which  you  have  honored  me,  and  the  circumstances 
that  brought  us  acquainted. 

09 Rene  Marie,  Vicomte  D'Arrot,  Major  General  and  Governor  of  the  Island  of 

1785]  HOU DON'S  ARRIVAL  277 

In  the  enjoyment  of  ease  and  tranquillity,  which  your  sword 
has  contributed  to  procure,  I  am  now  seated  under  my  own 
Vine  and  my  own  Fig-tree  in  the  occupations  of  rural  life,  at 
the  Seat  which  you  once  honored  with  your  presence,  and 
where  I  should  be  happy  to  meet  you  again. 

At  present  we  have  no  news  that  could  afford  you  any  enter- 
tainment: these  States  are  in  the  full  enjoyment  of  peace,  and 
nothing,  it  is  to  be  hoped  will  disturb  the  quiet  of  them.  Tho' 
there  is  something  misterious  and  not  easy  to  reconcile  with  the 
spirit  of  the  treaty,  in  the  British  still  continuing  their  Garrisons 
at  the  posts  of  Niagara,  Detroit  &c.  which  are  on  the  American 
side  of  the  territorial  line,  notwithstanding  a  demand  has  been 
made  of  them. 

Mrs.  Washington,  who  remembers  with  pleasure  your  call- 
ing here  with  some  Officers  of  your  Legion,  thanks  you  for 
your  attention,  and  prays  you  to  accept  her  compliments.  With 
sentiments  of  great  esteem  etc.60 


Mount  Vernon,  September  26, 1785. 
Sir:  By  a  letter61  which  I  have  lately  had  the  honor  to  receive 
from  Dr.  Franklin  at  Philada.,  I  am  informed  of  your  arrival 
at  that  place;  many  letters  from  very  respectable  characters  in 
France,  as  well  as  the  Doctors,  inform  me  of  the  occasion,  for 
which,  tho'  the  cause  is  not  of  my  seeking,  I  feel  the  most  agree- 
able and  grateful  sensations.  I  wish  the  object  of  your  mission 
had  been  more  worthy  of  the  masterly  strokes  of  the  first  Statu- 
ary in  Europe;  for  thus  you  are  represented  to  me. 

*°From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

a  On  September  26  Washington  wrote  briefly  to  William  Temple  Franklin,  acknowl- 
edging his  letter  of  Sept.  20,  1785.  A  copy  of  this  letter  is  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in 
the  Washington  Papers. 


It  will  give  me  pleasure  Sir,  to  welcome  you  to  this  seat  of 
my  retirement:  and  whatever  I  have,  or  can  procure  that  is 
necessary  to  your  purposes,  or  convenient  and  agreeable  to  your 
wishes;  you  must  freely  command,  as  inclination  to  oblige  you, 
shall  be  not  found  deficient,  either  on  your  arrival,  or  during 
your  stay. 

With  sentiments  of  esteem,  etc.62 


Mount  Vernon,  September  26, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  I  have  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  favors  of  the 
10th.  and  17th.  of  July  which  were  committed  to  the  care  of  Mr. 
Houdon;  but  I  have  not  yet  had  the  pleasure  to  see  that  Gentle- 
man. His  Instruments  and  materials  (Doctr  Franklin  informs 
me)  not  being  arrived  at  Havre  when  they  Sailed  he  was  obliged 
to  leave  them;  and  is  now  employed  in  providing  others  at 
Philadelphia,  with  which  he  will  proceed  to  this  place  as  soon 
as  they  are  ready.  I  shall  take  great  pleasure  in  shewing  Mr. 
Houdon  every  civility,  and  attention  in  my  power  during  his 
stay  in  this  Country,  as  I  feel  myself  under  personal  obligations 
to  you  and  Doctr.  Franklin  (as  the  State  of  Virginia  have  done 
me  the  honor  to  direct  a  Statue  to  be  erected  to  my  Memory)  for 
havg.  entrusted  the  execution  of  it  to  so  eminent  an  Artist,  and 
so  worthy  a  character.  I  have  the  pleasure  to  inform  you,  that  the 
subscriptions  to  the  inland  Navigations  of  the  Rivers  Potomack 
and  James  require  no  aid  from  Foreigners,  the  product  of  the 
first  when  the  Books  were  exhibited  at  the  General  Meeting  in 
May  last,  amounted  to  ^40,300.  Sterling,  and  is  since  nearly 
compleatedto  the  full  Sum  required  by  Law.  That  of  the  latter, 
at  the  General  Meeting  in  August,  were  superabundant.  The 

62 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


work  of  the  former  began  the  first  of  August,  and  is  progress- 
ing very  well,  the  latter  I  am  persuaded  will  do  more  than  keep 
pace  with  it,  as  the  difficulties  are  much  less. 

I  have  the  further  pleasure  to  inform  you  (and  I  should  have 
done  it  long  since,  had  I  not  supposed  that  your  information 
would  have  been  more  full  and  perfect  from  some  of  your  friends 
in  the  Assembly)  that  a  resolution  authorizing  the  Executive 
to  appoint  Commissioners  to  explore,  and  report  the  best  com- 
munication between  the  Waters  of  Elizabeth  River  and  those  of 
Albermarle  passed  last  Session.  That  the  Commrs.  have  pro- 
ceeded to  the  Survey,  and  have  reported  in  favor  of  that  which 
will  pass  through  Drummonds  pond  to  the  Pasquetank;  but 
what  will  be  the  result  I  am  unable  to  inform  you,  as  I  find  by 
some  of  the  principal  characters  of  No.  Carolina  (Members  of 
Congress)  who  have  called  here,  that  jealousies  prevail,  and  a 
powerful  opposition  will  be  given  to  any  Water  Communica- 
tion between  the  two  States,  lest  Virginia  should  derive  the 
benefits  arising  from  their  Exports  &ca. 

I  am  very  happy  to  find  that  your  sentiments  respecting  the 
interest  the  Assembly  was  pleased  to  give  me  in  the  two  naviga- 
tions of  the  Potomack  and  James  Rivers,  coincide  so  well  with 
my  own.  I  never,  for  a  moment,  entertained  an  idea  of  accept- 
ing; the  difficulty  which  laboured  in  my  mind  was  how  to 
refuse  without  giving  offence.  Ultimately  I  have  it  in  contem- 
plation to  apply  the  profits  arising  from  the  Tolls  to  some 
public  use.  In  this,  if  I  knew  how,  I  would  meet  the  wishes  of 
the  Assembly;  but  if  I  am  not  able  to  get  at  these,  my  own  in- 
clination leads  me  to  apply  them  to  the  establishment  of  two 
charity  Schools,  one  on  each  river,  for  the  Education  and  sup- 
port of  poor  Children;  especially  the  descendants  of  those  who 
have  fallen  in  defence  of  their  Country. 

I  can  say  nothing  decisely  [sic]  respecting  the  Western  Set- 
tlement of  this  State.  The  Inhabitants  of  Kentucke  have  held 


several  Conventions,  and  have  resolved  to  apply  for  a  Sepera- 
tion.  But  what  may  be  the  final  issue  of  it,  is  not  for  me,  at  this 
time,  to  inform  you.  Opinions,  as  far  as  they  have  come  to  my 
knowledge,  are  diverse.  I  have  uniformly  given  it  as  mine,  to 
meet  them  upon  their  own  ground,  draw  the  best  line,  and  best 
terms  we  can  of  seperation  and  part  good  friends.  After  the 
next  Session  of  our  Assembly  more  may  be  discovered,  and 
communicated,  and  if  you  should  not  receive  it  through  a  better 
channel,  I  will  have  the  honor  to  inform  you. 

I  am  sorry  I  cannot  give  you  full  information  respecting 
Captn.  Bushnals  projects  for  the  destruction  of  Shipping.  No 
interesting  experiment  having  been  made,  and  my  memory  be- 
ing treacherous,  I  may,  in  some  measure,  be  mistaken  in  what 
I  am  about  to  relate.  Bushnel  is  a  man  of  great  Mechanical 
powers,  fertile  of  invention,  and  master  in  execution.  He  came 
to  me  in  1776  recommended  by  Governor  Trumbull  (now 
dead)  and  other  respectable  characters  who  were  proselites  to 
his  plan.  Although  I  wanted  faith  myself,  I  furnished  him 
with  money,  and  other  aids  to  carry  it  into  execution.  He  la- 
boured for  sometime  ineffectually,  and  though  the  advocates 
for  his  scheme  continued  sanguine  he  never  did  succeed.  One 
accident  or  another  always  intervening.  I  then  thought,  and 
still  think,  that  it  was  an  effort  of  genius;  but  that  a  combina- 
tion of  too  many  things  were  requisite,  to  expect  much  success 
from  the  enterprise  against  an  enemy,  who  are  always  upon 

That  he  had  a  Machine  so  contrived  as  to  carry  a  man  under 
water  at  any  depth  he  chose,  and  for  a  considerable  time  and 
distance,  with  an  apparatus  charged  with  Powder  which  he 
could  fasten  to  a  Ships  bottom  or  side  and  give  fire  to  in  a  given 
time  (Sufft.  for  him  to  retire)  by  means  whereof  a  ship  could 
be  blown  up,  or  sunk,  are  facts  which  I  believe  admit  of  little 
doubt;  but  then,  where  it  was  to  operate  against  an  enemy,  it  is 

1785]  A  SUBMARINE  281 

no  easy  matter  to  get  a  person  hardy  enough  to  encounter 
the  variety  of  dangers  to  which  he  must  be  exposed,  i  from  the 
novelty  2  from  the  difficulty  of  conducting  the  machine,  and 
governing  it  under  water  on  Acct.  of  the  Currents  &ca.  3  the 
consequent  uncertainty  of  hitting  the  object  of  destination,  with- 
out rising  frequently  above  water  for  fresh  observation,  wch., 
when  near  the  Vessel,  would  expose  the  Adventurer  to  a  dis- 
covery, and  to  almost  to  certain  death.  To  these  causes  I  always 
ascribed  the  non-performance  of  his  plan,  as  he  wanted  nothing 
that  I  could  furnish,  to  secure  the  success  of  it.  This  to  the  best 
of  my  recollection  is  a  true  state  of  the  case.  But  Humphreys,  if 
I  mistake  not,  being  one  of  the  proselites,  will  be  able  to  give 
you  a  more  perfect  Acct.  of  it  than  I  have  done.  With  the  most 
perfect  esteem  etc.33 


Mount  Vernon,  September  26, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  Mr.  Taylor84  brought  me  your  favor  of  the  28th. ulto., 
and  I  have  received  your  other  letter  of  the  2d.  of  December; 
for  both  I  thank  you,  as  also  for  the  proceedings  of  the  Mayors 
Court  in  the  case  of  Rutgars  and  Waddington  which  was  en- 
closed in  the  latter.  I  have  read  this  with  attention;  and  tho'  I 
pretend  not  to  be  a  competent  judge  of  the  Law  of  Nations,  or 
of  the  act  of  your  Assembly,  nor  of  the  spirit  of  the  confedera- 
tion in  their  niceties;  yet  it  should  seem  to  me  that  the  inter- 
pretation of  them  by  the  Court,  is  founded  in  reason  and 
common  sense;  which  is,  or  ought  to  be  the  foundation  of  all 
Law  and  Government. 

I  am  sorry  to  hear  of  your  long  indisposition  and  repeated 
attacks;  it  may  be  well  to  nurse  a  little.  Disorders  oftentimes, 

63  From  the  original  in  the  Jefferson  Papers  in  the  Library  of  Congress. 
64 George  Taylor,  jr. 


are  easier  prevented  than  cured,  and  while  you  are  in  the  way 
to  re-establish  your  health,  (on  which  I  congratulate  you)  it 
is  better  to  use  preventatives,  than  alteratives  &c.  &c.  with  which 
the  Apothecaries  Shops  are  replete. 

As  you  are  at  the  source  of  foreign  intelligence,  I  could  only 
reverberate  what  you  have  before  heard;  and  having  nothing  of 
a  Domestic  kind  worth  communicating,  I  shall  be  rather  laconic 
in  my  perfect  address.  I  enjoy,  thank  God,  very  good  health, 

but  Mrs.W n,is  scarce  ever  well,  she  joins  me  in  best  wishes 

for  you,  and  I  am,  etc.65 


Mount  Vernon,  September  26, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  I  had  just  written,  and  was  about  to  put  into  the 
hands  of  Mr.  Taylor,68  (a  gentleman  in  the  department  of 
the  secretary  of  foreign  affairs)  the  enclosed  letter,  when  I 
had  the  honor  to  receive  by  post  your  favor  of  the  20th  instant. 
I  have  a  grateful  sense  of  the  partiality  of  the  French  nation 
towards  me,  and  feel  very  sensibly  the  indulgent  expression  of 
your  letter,  which  does  me  great  honor. 

When  it  suits  M.  Houdon  to  come  hither,  I  will  accommo- 
date him  in  the  best  manner  I  am  able,  and  shall  endeavour  to 
render  his  stay  as  agreeable  as  I  can.  It  would  give  me  infinite 
pleasure  to  see  you.  At  this  place  I  dare  not  look  for  it;  though 
to  entertain  you  under  my  own  roof  would  be  doubly  grati- 
fying. When  or  whether  I  shall  ever  have  the  satisfaction  of 
seeing  you  at  Philadelphia  is  uncertain,  as  retirement  from  the 
public  walks  of  life  has  not  been  so  productive  of  leisure  and 
ease  as  might  have  been  expected.  With  very  great  esteem,  etc.65 

85 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
68  George  Taylor. 



Mount  Vernon,  September  27, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  Mr.  Taylor  presented  me  the  honor  of  your  favor 
of  the  25th.  ulto.,  and  gave  me  the  pleasure  of  hearing  that  Mrs. 
Jay,  yourself  and  family  were  well  when  he  left  New  York. 
Upon  your  safe  return  to  your  native  Country,  after  the  long 
absence,  and  important  services  you  have  rendered  it  in  many 
interesting  negotiations,  I  very  sincerely  congratulate  you  and 
your  Lady.  It  gave  me  great  pleasure  to  hear  of  your  late  ap- 
pointment as  Secretary  of  Foreign  Affairs:  a  happier  choice 
in  my  opinion,  could  not  have  been  made;  and  I  shall  always 
rejoice  at  any  circumstance  which  can  contribute  either  to  your 
honor,  interest  or  convenience. 

Having  compleated  his  mission,  Mr.  Taylor  returns  to  you 
with  the  proceedings,  and  report  of  the  Commissioners  who 
were  sent  into  New  York  to  inspect  the  embarkations;  which 
by  the  by,  was  little  more  than  a  farce,  as  they  inspected  no 
more  property  than  the  British  chose  they  should  be  witness 
to  the  embarkation  of.  It  will  always  give  me  pleasure  to  hear 
from  you.  Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  most  respectful  com- 
pliments to,  and  best  wishes  for  yourself  and  Mrs.  Jay,  and  I 
am,  etc.67 


Mount  Vernon,  October  1, 1785. 
My  dear  Sir:  It  has  so  happened,  that  your  letter  of  the  first 
of  last  month  did  not  reach  me  until  Saturdays  Post.  You 
know,  too  well,  the  sincere  respect  and  regard  I  entertained  for 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


your  venerable  fathers  public  and  private  character,  to  require 
assurances  of  the  concern  I  felt  for  his  death;  or  of  that  sym- 
pathy in  your  feelings  for  the  loss  of  him,  which  is  prompted 
by  friendship.  Under  this  loss  however,  great  as  your  pangs 
may  have  been  at  the  first  shock,  you  have  every  thing  to  con- 
sole you.  A  long  and  well  spent  life  in  the  Service  of  his  Coun- 
try, placed  Govr.  Trumbull  amongst  the  first  of  Patriots.  In 
the  social  duties  he  yielded  to  none,  and  his  Lamp,  from  the 
common  course  of  Nature,  being  nearly  extinguished,  worn 
down  with  age  and  cares,  but  retaining  his  mental  faculties  in 
perfection,  are  blessings  which  rarely  attend  advanced  life. 
All  these  combining,  have  secured  to  his  memory  universal 
respect  and  love  here,  and  no  doubt  immeasurable  happiness 

I  am  sensible  that  none  of  these  observations  can  have  es- 
caped you,  and  that  I  can  offer  nothing  which  your  own  rea- 
son has  not  already  suggested  on  this  occasion;  and  being  of 
Sterne's  opinion,  that  "Before  an  affliction  is  digested,  consola- 
tion comes  too  soon;  and  after  it  is  digested,  it  comes  too  late: 
there  is  but  a  mark  between  these  two,  as  fine  almost  as  a  hair, 
for  a  comforter  to  take  aim  at."  I  rarely  attempt  it,  nor  shall 
I  add  more  on  this  subject  to  you,  as  it  would  only  be  a  renewal 
of  sorrow,  by  recalling  a  fresh  to  your  remembrance  things 
which  had  better  be  forgotten. 

My  principal  pursuits  are  of  a  rural  nature,  in  which  I  have 
great  delight,  especially  as  I  am  blessed  with  the  enjoyment  of 
good  health.  Mrs.  Washington  on  the  contrary  is  hardly  ever 
well,  but  thankful  for  your  kind  remembrance  of  her,  and  joins 
me  in  every  good  wish  for  you,  Mrs.  Trumbull  and  your  family. 
Be  assured  that  with  sentiments  of  the  purest,  esteem  etc.68 

88  From  a  photostat  of  the  original  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  RELIGIOUS  TAX  285 


Mount  Vernon,  October  3, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  I  have  this  moment  received  yours  of  yesterday's  date, 
enclosing  a  memorial  and  remonstrance  against  the  Assess- 
ment Bill,69  which  I  will  read  with  attention.  At  present  I  am 
unable  to  do  it,  on  account  of  company.  The  bill  itself  I  do  not 
recollect  ever  to  have  read:  with  attention  I  am  certain  I  never 
did,  but  will  compare  them  together. 

Altho,  no  man's  sentiments  are  more  opposed  to  any  kind  of 
restraint  upon  religious  principles  than  mine  are;  yet  I  must 
confess,  that  I  am  not  amongst  the  number  of  those  who  are  so 
much  alarmed  at  the  thoughts  of  making  people  pay  towards 
the  support  of  that  which  they  profess,  if  of  the  denomination 
of  Christians;  or  declare  themselves  Jews,Mahomitans  or  other- 
wise, and  thereby  obtain  proper  relief.  As  the  matter  now 
stands,  I  wish  an  assessment  had  never  been  agitated,  and  as  it 
has  gone  so  far,  that  the  Bill  could  die  an  easy  death;  because  I 
think  it  will  be  productive  of  more  quiet  to  the  State,  than  by 
enacting  it  into  a  Law;  which,  in  my  opinion,  would  be  im- 
politic, admitting  there  is  a  decided  majority  for  it,  to  the  dis- 
quiet of  a  respectable  minority.  In  the  first  case  the  matter  will 
soon  subside;  in  the  latter,  it  will  rankle  and  perhaps  convulse, 
the  State.  The  Dinner  Bell  rings,  and  I  must  conclude  with  an 
expression  of  my  concern  for  your  indisposition.  Sincerely  and 
affectionately,  I  am  Sec.70 

69  The  bill  in  question  was  to  provide  for  teachers  of  the  Christian  religion  in  Vir- 
ginia by  means  of  a  specified  tax,  the  money  to  be  paid  out  on  order  of  the  vestries, 
elders,  etc.,  of  each  religious  society  to  a  teacher  or  minister  of  its  denomination.  It 
could  also  be  used  to  provide  places  of  worship.  Mason  had  printed  the  remonstrance 
against  the  bill  and  sent  it  to  Washington,  asking  him  to  sign  it.  Mason's  letter  (Octo- 
ber 2)  is  in  the  Washington  Papers,  but  the  remonstrance  is  not  now  found  therein. 

T0From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  October  3, 1785. 

My  Dear  Sir:  The  last  Post  from  Richmd.  gave  me  the  pleas- 
ure of  your  favor  of  the  9th.  from  Rosewell.  Expressions  of 
friendship  from  good  men,  and  the  congratulations  of  those 
who  are  not  addicted  to  unmeaning  compliments,  cannot  fail 
to  be  acceptable.  In  this  light  I  view  and  thank  you  for  the 
obliging  and  endulgent  sentiments  of  your  letter,  which  have 
affected  my  mind  with  gratitude  and  pleasure. 

It  will  be  unnecessary  I  hope  Sir,  to  assure  you  of  the  pleasure 
I  shou'd  have  felt  at  seeing  you  and  Mrs.  Page  at  Mount  Vernon 
on  your  way  to  Philada.,  if  you  could  have  made  it  convenient 
and  agreeable  to  have  taken  this  rout,  at  all  times  I  should  be 
happy  to  see  you  here. 

Soon  after  I  returned  from  Richmond  in  May  last,  I  spoke 
to  a  Dutch  Merchant  in  Alexandria  on  the  subject  of  importing 
Germans;  but  not  receiving  any  satisfactory  information  from 
him,  tho'  he  was  perfectly  willing  to  oblige,  I  requested  him,  as 
he  was  on  the  eve  of  a  journey  thro'  Baltimore  to  Boston,  at  both 
which  Dutch  Houses  are  established,  and  in  the  last  he  is  con- 
cerned, to  make  every  enquiry  he  could  respecting  the  mode, 
the  terms,  and  practicability  of  obtaining  the  number  we  want : 
but  meeting  with  no  precise  information  here  neither,  I  wrote 
some  little  time  ago  to  Mr.  De  Neufville,  a  Gentleman  of  very 
respectable  character  at  Amsterdam,  with  whom  I  have  long 
corresponded,  for  full  information;  and  to  know  also,  if  ^5000 
could  be  borrowed  for  the  use  of  the  Company  on  such  terms, 
and  upon  such  securities  as  it  proposed  to  give.  Herein  also  I 
have  been  unlucky;  for  soon  after  I  had  written  and  had  sent 
my  Letter  to  New  York  to  obtain  a  passage  by  the  Packet,  I 
received  an  account  of  this  Gentlemans  arrival  at  Boston.  These 

1785]  A  HOLLAND  LOAN  287 

delays  following  the  enquiries,  which  I  only  considered  as  aux- 
iliary to  those  of  the  Managers,71  to  whom  I  intended  to  com- 
municate the  result,  will  be  unlucky  if  they  have  taken  no  steps 
in  the  meanwhile  themselves.  Would  it  not  be  advisable  in 
case  My  good  Sir,  for  you  as  one  of  them  to  go  fully  into  the 
matter  whilst  you  are  at  Philadelphia,  where,  it  is  to  be  pre- 
sumed the  best  information  on  this  side  the  Atlantic  is  to  be 
obtained;  and  the  most  likely  place  to  enter  into  Contracts, 
unless  a  person  in  behalf  of  the  Company,  should  be  sent  to 
Holland  expressly  for  this  purpose;  or  a  gentleman  there 
in  whom  confidence  could  be  placed,  would  undertake  it. 
But  unless  Mr.  Anderson  should  succeed  in  negotiating  the 
loan  he  was  requested  to  obtain,  or  the  like  sum  could  be  bor- 
rowed in  Holland,  we  shall  be  without  funds  to  carry  the  Plan 
into  effect,  and  consequently  cannot  advance  beyond  the  limits 
of  enquiry,  or  preliminary  agreement. 

Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  respectful  compliments  to  Mrs. 
Page,  who  we  hope  will  reap  all  the  benefits  which  are  expected 
from  the  change  of  climate.  With  very  great  esteem  etc.72 


Mount  Vernon,  October  5, 1785. 
Madam:  It  gives  me  pain  to  find  that  the  letter  which  I  had 
the  honor  of  writing  to  you  on  the  30th.  of  March  last,  in  ac- 
knowledgement of  the  Poem  you  had  the  goodness  to  send 
me  thro'  the  hands  of  Mr.  Vogels,  should  never  have  reached 
you.  I  now  enclose  a  copy  of  it,  presuming  that  the  origi- 
nal must  have  miscarried;  occasioned  by  addressing  it  to  that 

71  Of  the  Potomac  Navigation  Co. 

72From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

On  October  3  Washington  wrote  a  brief  letter  of  acknowledgment  to  Charles 
William  Frederick  Dumas,  at  the  Hague.  A  copy  of  this  letter  is  in  the  "Letter 
Book"  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


Gentleman  at  Philadelphia,  when  possibly  he  might  not  have 
been  in  this  Country. 

I  have  now  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  obliging  let- 
ter of  the  ioth.  of  April,  with  the  Duplicate  of  the  above  Poem, 
for  which  I  thank  you,  and  can  only  repeat  to  you  my  wish, 
that  the  subject  of  it  was  more  deserving  of  your  lays.  I  pray 
you  to  have  the  goodness  to  offer  my  compliments  to  Mr.  Van 
Winter,  and  to  be  assured  of  the  respect  and  esteem  with  which, 
I  am,  etc.73 


Mount  Vernon,  October  7, 1785. 

My  Dr.  Sir:  Your  Letter  of  the  19th.  of  May  was  brought  to 
this  place  by  Mr.  Houdon,  who  arrived  here  the  3d.  of  this 
month.  I  delay  no  time  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  it,  and  to 
thank  you  for  the  several  communications  you  have  had  the 
goodness  to  make  me. 

You  are  too  well  acquainted  with  my  wishes  for  every  thing 
which  can  promote  your  interest,  honor,  or  happiness,  to  sup- 
pose that  I  did  not  rejoice  at  the  prospect  of  your  being  ap- 
pointed to  the  command  of  a  Corps;  which  is  agreeable  to  your 
own  inclination,  and  which  suits  your  talents :  every  thing  which 
gratify's  the  first,  and  favors  the  latter,  I  sincerely  wish  you  may 

At  present  everything  in  America  is  tranquil,  and  I  hope  will 
long  remain  so.  It  is  not  our  interest  to  seek  new  broils,  and  I 
hope  our  neighbours  will  not  commence  them.  It  is  not  a  little 
misterious  however,  that  the  Western  Posts,  on  the  American 
side  the  territorial  line,  should  still  be  possessed  by  British  Gar- 
risons: the  mistery,  it  is  to  be  presumed,  will  now  soon  be 

73 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers.  The  text  varies  slightly 
from  that  printed  in  the  Journal  of  American  History,  1930. 
"Marquis  de  La  Rouerie. 

1785]  LACK  OF  WISDOM  289 

explained;  as  an  American  Minister  has  been  received  at  the 
Court  of  London. 

I  never  expect  to  draw  my  sword  again:  I  can  scarcely  con- 
ceive the  cause  that  would  induce  me  to  do  it;  but  if,  contrary 
to  all  expectation,  such  an  event  should  take  place,  I  should 
think  it  a  fortunate  circumstance,  and  myself  highly  honored, 
to  have  it  supported  by  yours.  My  time  is  now  occupied  by  rural 
amusements,  in  which  I  have  great  satisfaction;  and  my  first 
wish  is,  altho'  it  is  against  the  profession  of  arms  and  would 
clip  the  wings  of  some  of  you  young  soldiers  who  are  soaring 
after  glory,  to  see  the  whole  world  in  peace,  and  the  Inhabitants 
of  it  as  one  band  of  brothers,  striving  who  should  contribute 
most  to  the  happiness  of  mankind. 

Mrs.  Washington,  thankful  for  your  kind  remembrance  of 
her,  desires  me  to  present  her  compliments  to  you.  It  is  unneces- 
sary to  assure  you  of  the  high  esteem  etc.75 


Mount  Vernon,  October  7, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  The  assurances  of  your  friendship,  after  a  silence  of 
more  than  six  years,  are  extremely  pleasing  to  me.  Friendships, 
formed  under  the  circumstances  that  ours  commenced,  are  not 
easily  eradicated;  and  I  can  assure  you,  that  mine  has  under- 
gone no  diminution;  every  occasion,  therefore,  of  renewing  it, 
will  give  me  pleasure,  and  I  shall  be  happy  at  all  times  to  hear 
of  your  welfare. 

The  war,  as  you  have  very  justly  observed,  has  terminated 
most  advantageously  for  America,  and  a  fair  field  is  presented 
to  our  view;  but  I  confess  to  you  freely,  My  Dr.  Sir,  that  I  do 
not  think  we  possess  wisdom  or  Justice  enough  to  cultivate  it 

75 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


properly.  Illiberality,  Jealousy,  and  local  policy  mix  too  much 
in  all  our  public  councils  for  the  good  government  of  the  Union. 
In  a  word,  the  confederation  appears  to  me  to  be  little  more  than 
a  shadow  without  the  substance ;  and  Congress  a  nugatory  body, 
their  ordinances  being  little  attended  to.  To  me,  it  is  a  solecism 
in  politics:  indeed  it  is  one  of  the  most  extraordinary  things  in 
nature,  that  we  should  confederate  as  a  Nation,  and  yet  be  afraid 
to  give  the  rulers  of  that  nation,  who  are  the  creatures  of  our 
making,  appointed  for  a  limited  and  short  duration,  and  who 
are  amenable  for  every  action,  and  recallable  at  any  moment, 
and  are  subject  to  all  the  evils  which  they  may  be  instrumental 
in  producing,  sufficient  powers  to  order  and  direct  the  affairs  of 
the  same.  By  such  policy  as  this  the  wheels  of  Government  are 
clogged,  and  our  brightest  prospects,  and  that  high  expectation 
which  was  entertained  of  us  by  the  wondering  world,  are  turned 
into  astonishment;  and  from  the  high  ground  on  which  we 
stood,  we  are  descending  into  the  vale  of  confusion  and  darkness. 

That  we  have  it  in  our  power  to  become  one  of  the  most  re- 
spectable Nations  upon  Earth,  admits,  in  my  humble  opinion, 
of  no  doubt;  if  we  would  but  pursue  a  wise,  just,  and  liberal 
policy  towards  one  another,  and  would  keep  good  faith  with 
the  rest  of  the  World :  that  our  resources  are  ample  and  encreas- 
ing,  none  can  deny;  but  while  they  are  grudgingly  applyed,  or 
not  applyed  at  all,  we  give  a  vital  stab  to  public  faith,  and  shall 
sink,  in  the  eyes  of  Europe,  into  contempt. 

It  has  long  been  a  speculative  question  among  Philosophers 
and  wise  men,  whether  foreign  Commerce  is  of  real  advantage 
to  any  Country;  that  is,  whether  the  luxury,  effeminacy,  and 
corruptions  which  are  introduced  along  with  it;  are  counter- 
balanced by  the  convenience  and  wealth  which  it  brings  with 
it;  but  the  decision  of  this  question  is  of  very  little  importance 
to  us :  we  have  abundant  reason  to  be  convinced,  that  the  spirit 


for  Trade  which  pervades  these  States  is  not  to  be  restrained;  it 
behooves  us  then  to  establish  just  principles;  and  this,  any  more 
than  other  matters  of  national  concern,  cannot  be  done  by  thir- 
teen heads  differently  constructed  and  organized.  The  neces- 
sity, therefore,  of  a  controuling  power  is  obvious;  and  why  it 
should  be  withheld  is  beyond  my  comprehension. 

The  Agricultural  Society,  lately  established  in  Philadelphia, 
promises  extension  usefulness  if  it  is  prosecuted  with  spirit.  I 
wish  most  sincerely  that  every  State  in  the  Union  would  insti- 
tute similar  ones;  and  that  these  Societies  would  correspond 
fully  and  freely  with  each  other,  and  communicate  all  useful 
discoveries  founded  on  practice,  with  a  due  attention  to  climate, 
soil,  and  Seasons  to  the  public. 

The  great  works  of  improving  and  extending  the  inland 
navigations  of  the  two  large  rivers  Potomac  and  James,  which 
interlock  with  the  waters  of  the  Western  Territory,  are  already 
begun,  and  I  have  little  doubt  of  their  success.  The  conse- 
quences to  the  Union,  in  my  judgment  are  immense:  more  so 
in  a  political,  than  in  a  commercial  view;  for  unless  we  can 
connect  the  new  States  which  are  rising  to  our  view  in  those 
regions,  with  those  on  the  Atlantic  by  interest,  (the  only  bind- 
ing cement,  and  no  otherwise  to  be  effected  but  by  opening  such 
communications  as  will  make  it  easier  and  cheaper  for  them  to 
bring  the  product  of  their  labour  to  our  markets,  instead  of  go- 
ing to  the  Spaniards  southerly,  or  the  British  northerly),  they 
will  be  quite  a  distinct  people;  and  ultimately  may  be  very 
troublesome  neighbours  to  us.  In  themselves  considered  merely 
as  a  hardy  race,  this  may  happen;  how  much  more  so,  if  linked 
with  either  of  those  powers  in  politics  and  commerce. 

It  would  afford  me  great  pleasure  to  go  over  those  grounds 
in  your  State  with  a  mind  more  at  ease,  than  when  I  travelled 
them  in  1775  and  1776;  and  to  unite  in  congratulating  on  the 


happy  change,  with  those  characters,  who  participated  of  [sic] 
the  anxious  moments  we  passed  in  those  days,  and  for  whom  I 
entertain  a  sincere  regard;  but  I  do  not  know  whether  to  flatter 
myself  with  the  enjoyment  of  it:  the  deranged  state  of  my  af- 
fairs, from  an  absence  and  total  neglect  of  them  for  almost  nine 
years,  and  a  pressure  of  other  matters,  allow  me  little  leisure  for 
gratifications  of  this  sort.  Mrs.  Washington  offers  her  compli- 
ments and  best  wishes  to  Mrs.  Warren,  to  which  be  pleased  to 
add  those  of,  dear  Sir,  &c.78 


Monday,  October  10, 1785. 

Genl.  and  Mrs.  Washington  present  their  compliments  to 
Colo,  and  Mrs.  Blackburne;  are  much  obliged  to  them  for  their 
kind  invitation  to  the  Wedding77  on  Thursday.  They  would 
attend  with  pleasure,  but  for  the  indisposition  of  the  latter;  and 
the  particular  engagements  of  the  former  which  confine  him 
at  home  this  week,  and  oblige  him  to  attend  the  Board  of  Direc- 
tors at  Georgetown,  the  Great  Falls,  &c.  the  beginning  of  next. 

The  Genl.  and  Mrs.  Washington  will  always  be  happy  to  see 
the  young  couple  at  Mount  Vernon.76 


Mount  Vernon,  October  16, 1785. 
Sir :  It  is  sometime  since  I  wrote  in  very  great  haste  an  answer, 
or  rather  an  acknowledgement  of  your  letter  of  the  9th.  of  June. 
I  will  now  by  Mr.  Craig,78  endeavour  to  be  more  explicit  than  I 
was,  or  could  be  at  that  time. 

™From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
17  Of  Bushrod  Washington  and  Julia  Ann  Blackburn. 
78 William  Craik  (Craig). 

1785]  HIS  MILL  293 

With  regard  to  my  Lands  on  the  Ohio  and  Great  Kanhawa, 
I  am  not  yet  inclined  to  relax  from  the  terms  of  my  printed 
Advertisement,  with  a  copy  of  which  I  furnished  you:  When  I 
see  cause  to  do  it,  you  shall  be  duly  advertised  of  the  change:  in 
the  meantime,  if  you  could  discover  the  most  advantageous 
terms  which  could  be  obtained,  and  would  advise  me  thereof, 
I  should  be  obliged  to  you.  As  to  the  Great  Meadow  tract,  you 
may  rent  it  on  the  best  terms  you  can,  not  exceeding  ten  years 
from  the  first  day  of  January  next. 

My  sentiments  with  respect  to  the  Mill  were  so  fully  given 
to  you  in  my  last  (by  Dr.  Knight)79  that  it  is  unnecessary  to 
add  aught  on  that  score  now.  It  has  cost  me  too  much  already 
(without  any  return)  to  undergo  a  repetition  of  the  like  ex- 
pence.  If  you  cannot  rent  or  sell  her  as  there  directed,  let  her 
return  to  dust,  the  first  loss  may  be  best. 

I  informed  you  in  my  last,  and  I  presume  you  were  convinced 
of  it  before,  that  I  made  no  agreement  with  the  Tenants  on  the 
tract  near  you,  which  could  exonerate  them  from  paying  the  rents 
which  were  then  due;  consequently  they  must  be  made  to  pay 
them;  otherwise  the  most  deserving  of  favor  (by  having  paid) 
are  on  a  worse  footing,  than  the  least  deserving  who  ought  to 
have  paid  before  I  went  into  the  country  and  explained  the 
terms  on  which  I  had  directed  them  to  be  let. 

With  respect  to  Mr.  Simpsons  quitting  the  Tenement,  I  ob- 
served to  you  in  my  last;  that  when  I  ma\e  a  bargain  I  consider 
it,  to  all  intents  and  purposes,  as  binding  on  me;  consequently 
that  it  is  so  on  the  person  with  whom  it  is  made.  He  may  well 
remember,  that  upon  his  expressing  an  idea  that  he  would  try 
the  place  one  year  on  the  rent  it  now  goes  at,  I  told  him  explic- 
itly he  must  take  it  for  the  period  on  which  it  was  offered,  or  not 
at  all;  as  I  did  not  intend  to  go  thro'  the  same  trouble  every  year 

78Dr.  John(?)  Knight. 


by  making  an  annual  bargain  for  it;  and  that  he  acquiesed 
thereto.  It  behooves  him  therefore,  and  the  Tenant  likewise,  to 
consider  what  they  are  about,  as  one  or  the  other  will  be  liable 
to  me  for  the  rent,  agreeably  to  the  tenure  of  the  Lease.  I  in- 
formed you  in  my  last  what  had  been  done  with  the  accounts 
which  were  put  into  my  hands  by  him  and  Mr.  John  Jones,  and 
requested  him  to  assign  the  certificate  which  I  then  enclosed, 
and  to  return  it  to  me;  but  have  heard  nothing  from  him  since 
on  the  subject,  which  is  a  little  surprizing. 

I  hope  the  Hay,  Corn  and  other  articles  have  been  sold  'ere 
this,  and  that  you  have  received  the  Cash  for  them,  or  good 
security  for  the  payment  of  the  amount  of  them. 

If  Mr.  Simpson,  contrary  to  his  agreement  and  good  faith, 
should  have  moved  off  my  Land;  I  am  at  a  loss  to  decide  what 
had  best  be  done  with  my  negroes.  It  was  in  consideration  of 
his  taking  the  Plantation,  that  I  agreed  to  let  him  have  the 
negroes  so  cheap:  If  he  is  gone,  or  going  from  it,  he  shall  hold 
them  no  longer  on  the  same  terms  he  has  them  this  year:  but 
my  wish  would  be  that  you  could  send  them  to  me  at  this  place, 
if  the  measure  can  be  reconciled  to  them.  Simon's  countrymen, 
and  Nancy's  relations  are  all  here,  and  would  be  glad  to  see 
them;  I  would  make  a  Carpenter  of  Simon,  to  work  along  with 
his  shipmate  Sambo.  At  any  rate  I  will  not  suffer  them  to  go 
down  the  river,  or  to  any  distance  where  you  cannot  have  an 
eye  over  them. 

What  Capt :  Crawford  did  upon  my  Land  on  Shirtee  in  order 
to  save  it,  must  undoubtedly  be  well  known  to  those  who  were 
most  intimately  connected  with  him  and  his  movements  at  that 
period.  Mr.  Chas.  Morgan  is  as  likely  to  possess  this  knowledge 
as  any  other;  but  certainly  there  must  be  more,  and  it  may  be 
essential  to  find  them  out  and  to  call  upon  them  as  evidences 
in  the  cause. 

1785]  CARE   OF  BAGGAGE  295 

In  a  former  Letter  I  informed  you  that  I  had  obtained  a 
Patent  for  the  round  Bottom;  and  that  it  might  be  rented  on 
the  same  terms  with  my  other  Lands  on  the  Ohio  and  Great 
Kanhawa;  and  I  repeat  it  in  this,  lest  a  miscarriage  should  have 

When  I  was  out  last  fall,  I  left  all  my  Baggage  at  Mr.  Simp- 
son's, viz,  Tents,  Bedding  and  many  other  things;  of  which 
I  hope  proper  care  have  and  will  be  taken,  if  he  has,  or  is  about 
to  leave  the  place.  Among  other  Articles  there  were  two  eight 
gallon  Kegs  of  West  India  rum,  one  of  them  of  the  first  quality. 
As  this  is  a  commodity  which  is  subject  to  a  variety  of  accidents 
and  misfortunes,  I  request  it  may  be  sold :  I  will  take  my  chance 
to  procure  more  when  I  may  come  into  that  Country;  which, 
at  present,  is  uncertain.  If  the  Tents  and  bedding  should  get 
wet,  and  are  not  dryed,  they  will  be  ruined;  and  therefore  pray 
that  particular  attention  may  be  paid  to  them,  my  Canteens, 
travelling  Trunk  &c.  &c. 

If  you  have  received  and  paid  anything  on  my  account  since 
I  was  out;  it  may  be  well  to  render  a  statement  of  it  by  Mr. 
Craig,  who  will  offer  a  safe  and  good  opportunity  to  remit  what 
cash  may  be  in  your  hands  consequent  of  the  sales  of  last  fall 
or  by  other  means,  after  you  have  deducted  your  commissions. 
If  the  Bonds  which  were  taken  at  that  time  are  not  paid  agree- 
ably to  the  terms  of  them,  delay  no  time  to  recover  the  money 
as  soon  as  you  can;  as  I  am  not  inclined  to  be  put  off  with 
unmeaning  promises,  and  obliged  to  sue  at  last. 

If  my  negroes  are  to  come  down,  the  sooner  it  could  happen 
the  better  for  the  young  ones:  and  a  careful  person  should  be 
hired  to  take  care  of  them.  In  this  case  I  would  wish  to  have 
my  Baggage  (except  the  Liquor)  sent  to  me  at  the  same  time, 
one  trouble  and  expence  would  serve  both  purposes,  I  am,  etc.80 

80 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  October  16, 1785. 

Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  first  inst.  did  not  reach  my  hands  until 
last  night,  or  I  would  have  replied  to  it  sooner. 

I  am  much  obliged  to  you  for  the  Model  of  your  Hippopota- 
mus, and  the  information  which  accompanied  it,  I  have  a  high 
expectation  of  its  answering  very  valuable  purposes,  if  the  mud, 
in  the  beds  of  our  Rivers,  is  of  that  fertilizing  nature  which  the 
appearance  indicate;  of  which  I  mean  to  make  a  full  experi- 
ment upon  a  small  scale  this  fall,  having  the  command  of  a  flat 
bottom  Boat,  a  scow,  with  which  I  can  get  out  as  much  as  will 
try  the  effect  of  different  quantities  upon  small  squares  of  ex- 
hausted Land,  in  all  points  similar,  If  the  quantity  of  mud 
which  shall  be  found  necessary  from  this  essay  to  dress  land 
properly,  when  added  to  the  expense  of  the  Machine  for  raising 
it,  bringing  it  to  the  Land,  cartage,  &c  &c  does  not  come  too 
high,  I  should  certainly  adopt  the  measure  next  year,  and  will 
then  avail  myself  of  the  kind  offer  you  have  made  me,  In  the 
mean  while,  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  thanks  for  your  politeness 
in  this  instance.81 


Mount  Vernon  in  Virginia,  October  26, 1785. 
The  bearer  Mr  John  Fairfax  is  sent  by  the  subscriber  to  Bos- 
ton for  a  Jack  Ass;  of  the  arrival  of  which  at  that  place  he  is 

81  The  text  is  from  that  printed  in  a  sales  catalogue  in  1891. 

On  October  21,  at  Alexandria,  Va.,  Washington  wrote  the  following  certificate  for 
former  Lieut.  Thomas  Pool,  of  the  Second  Continental  Dragoons,  to  Pool's  petition 
to  the  Continental  Congress,  Sept.  29,  1785:  "The  above  certificate  of  Colo.  Hamilton, 
contains  all  and  precisely  what  I  know  and  believe  respecting  the  allegations  of  Mr. 
Pool.  With  respect  to  the  Sum,  or  Sums  which  he  may  have  received  from  me,  I  am 
unable  at  this  time  and  place  to  certify  with  any  degree  of  certainty,  but  believe  as  he 
was  early  confined  to  the  Provost  at  New  York  that  it  did  not  exceed  ten  or  twelve 
Guineas."  The  petition,  with  Hamilton's  and  Washington's  certificates,  is  in  the 
Papers  of  the  Continental  Congress,  no.  42,  vol.  6,  fols.  318-328. 


advised;  and  where  a  second  is  also  expected  on  his  account 
from  Spain.  With  both  of  these  if  the  second  is  arrived,  and 
their  dispatch  as  the  nature  as  the  case  may  admit.  But  as  sick- 
ness, accident  or  other  unadvoidable  delay  may  impede  the 
journey  and  cause  him  to  require  aid  to  prosecute,  the  sub- 
scriber would  esteem  it  as  a  favor  done  him  by  any  who  shall 
render  it;  and  will  thankfully  repay  any  advance  or  expence 
which  may  be  incurred.82 


Mount  Vernon,  October  26, 1785. 

You  will  proceed  in  the  Stage  from  Alexandria  to  Boston, 
without  losing  a  day  that  can  possibly  be  avoided;  and  when 
arrived  at  the  latter  place,  deliver  the  Letter  herewith  given 
you  to  the  Honr.  Thos.  Cushing,  Lieut:  Governor  of  the  State 
of  Massachusetts,  who  resides  in  the  town  of  Boston,  and  whose 
directions  you  are  to  follow. 

The  intention  of  your  going  thither  is,  to  bring  one,  perhaps 
two  Jack  asses,  which  have  been  imported  for  me  from  Spain: 
a  Spaniard84  is  arrived  with,  and  attends  the  first;  and  prob- 
ably if  the  second  is  arrived,85  there  will  be  one  with  him 
also:  one,  or  both  of  these  men,  according  to  the  instructions 
they  may  have  received  in  Spain,  or  agreeably  to  the  directions 
you  may  receive  from  the  Lieut :  Governor,  are  to  come  on  with 
you  and  the  Jacks. 

^From  a  copy  kindly  furnished  by  Roy  B.  Cook,  of  Charleston,  W.  Va.  It  was 
addressed  to  Tench  Tilghman,  Robert  Morris,  at  Philadelphia;  Elias  Boudinot,  at 
Elizabeth  Town;  Governor  Clinton  or  Henry  Knox,  at  New  York;  and  Jeremiah 
Wadsworth,  at  Hartford. 

88 An  overseer  at  Mount  Vernon. 

84  Pedro  Tellez. 

^In  the  Washington  Papers,  under  date  of  Aug.  8,  1785,  is  the  invoice  of  the  ship- 
ment of  one  jackass,  44  Spanish  inches  high,  in  the  Ranger,  Job  Knight,  master,  from 
Bilboa  to  Gloucester  [Massachusetts]. 


As  you  will  have  to  ride  back,  and  as  this  will  be  the  case  also 
with  the  Spaniards,  (if  there  are  more  than  one),  Horses,  if  it  is 
thought  improper  to  ride  on  the  Jacks,  will  be  to  be  bought, 
and  as  females  will  answer  my  purposes  best,  I  desire  you  to 
buy  mares:  let  them  be  young,  sound  and  of  good  size,  as  I 
propose  to  put  them  to  the  Jacks  in  the  season  for  covering: 
Lieut:  Govr.  Cushing  will  furnish  you  with  money,  and  aid 
you  with  his  advice  in  this  purchase;  as  also  to  defray  your 
expenses  in  returning. 

You  know  too  well  the  high  value  I  set  upon  these  Jacks,  to 
neglect  them  on  the  road  in  any  instance  whatsoever;  but  if  the 
one  which  is  now  at  Boston,  and  the  other  if  it  arrives  in  time, 
should  come  on  under  their  proper  keepers,  your  business  will 
then  be  to  see  that  every  thing  necessary  is  provided,  leaving  the 
management  of  them  to  the  Spaniard  or  Spaniards  who  will 
attend  them,  and  who  best  know  how  to  travel  and  feed  them. 
See  however  (if  their  keepers  are  drunken  and  neglectful)  that 
due  attention  and  care  are  bestowed  on  these  animals. 

As  I  do  not  mean  to  be  at  the  expence  of  hiring  and  bringing 
on  an  Interpreter  (altho'  neither  of  the  Spaniards  should  speak 
English)  you  would  do  well  before  you  leave  Boston,  where  by 
means  of  one  you  can  communicate  your  sentiments  to  each 
other,  to  settle  all  the  necessary  points  for  your  journey:  that  is, 
your  hour  for  setting  out  in  the  morning,  which  let  be  early; 
taking  up  in  the  evening,  number  of  feeds  in  the  day,  and  of 
what  kind  of  food :  also  the  kind  and  quantity  of  Liquor  that 
is  to  be  given  to  the  Spaniards  in  a  day.  In  this  govern  your- 
self by  the  advice  of  the  Lieut:  Governor.  I  would  not  debar 
them  of  what  is  proper;  any  more  than  I  would  endulge  them 
in  what  is  not  so.  Be  attentive  to  the  conduct  of  these  men,  as 
from  their  good  or  bad  dispositions  I  shall  be  enabled  to  judge 


whether  to  keep  one  of  them  or  not;  if  either  shou'd  incline  to 
stay  in  the  Country  with  the  Jacks.  Having  settled  the  principal 
points  with  them  before  you  leave  Boston,  you  will  easily  under- 
stand each  other  in  smaller  matters  by  signs,  'till  you  return  to 
New  York;  where  by  means  of  the  Spanish  Minister's  attend- 
ants, you  may  if  necessary,  settle  a  fresh  plan. 

Not  expecting  that  you  will  travel  back  faster  than  the  Jacks 
can  walk,  it  is  possible  you  may  reach  New  York  before  you 
take  a  halting  day;  which,  if  not  too  far,  would  be  best,  as  here 
probably  the  Spaniards  will  require  it,  on  account  of  meeting 
their  Countrymen  in  the  family  of  Mr.  Gardoqui,  the  Spanish 
Minister:  however,  if  they  think  a  halt  sooner  is  necessary,  you 
must  be  governed  by  their  opinions,  as  the  Jacks  must  not  be 
hurt  by  travelling  them  too  fast,  or  improperly. 

Let  the  Jacks  be  put  separate  and  with  no  other  creatures, 
lest  they  should  get  kicked,  and  hurt  themselves  or  hurt  others; 
and  if  it  is  necessary  they  should  be  cloathed,  (which  you  must 
know  before  you  leave  Boston)  provide  Blankets  or  such  other 
cloathing  as  their  keepers  think  best,  at  that  place. 

Keep  an  exact  account  of  your  expences  from  the  time  you 
leave  home  until  you  return  to  it  again;  remembering  that  Dol- 
lars in  the  States  of  Maryland,  Delaware,  Pennsylvania  and  part 
of  New  Jersey,  pass  at  7/6.;  bordering  on  New  York,  and  in 
that  State  for  8/.,  and  in  all  the  New  England  Governments 
at  6/.  as  in  Virginia,  all  other  silver,  and  gold,  in  that  proportion. 

Altho'  I  do  not  think  there  is  any  probability  of  the  Jack,  or 
Jacks  having  left  Boston  before  you  will  arrive  there;  yet  at,  and 
after  you  leave  the  City  of  New  York,  it  may  be  well  to  enquire 
now  and  then  along  the  road,  whether  this  may  not  have  taken 
place;  the  circumstance  of  which  will  be  very  notorious  if  it 
has  happened.  For  this  reason,  if  there  is  a  Stage  which  passes 


thro'  Hartford  in  Connecticut,  and  so  along  the  post  road  to 
Boston;  it  will  be  better  to  pursue  this  rout  than  to  go  by  the 
Stage-boat  from  New  York  to  Providence. 

As  soon  as  the  Stage  gets  to  its  Quarters  at  night,  immediately 
engage  your  passage  for  the  next  day,  lest  you  may  be  too  late 
and  thereby  detained  a  day  or  two  for  its  return.  Make  use  of 
the  State  Waggons,  the  Stage  Coaches  are  too  expensive. 

As  soon  as  you  get  to  Boston,  write  to  me,  or  get  somebody  to 
do  it,  by  the  Post,  informing  me  whether  there  are  one,  or  two 
Jacks;  in  what  condition  they  are,  with  other  particulars,  and 
when  you  expect  to  commence  your  journey  back.86 


Mount  Vernon,  October  26, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  The  last  Post  gave  me  the  honor  of  your  favor  of 
the  7th.inst:  for  which  and  your  care  of  the  Jack  and  his  Keeper, 
I  pray  you  to  accept  my  grateful  thanks. 

As  the  Jack  is  now  safely  landed,  and  as  I  am  unwilling  to 
hazard  him  again  at  Sea,  I  have  sent  a  man  in  whom  I  can 
confide,  to  conduct  him  and  the  Spandiard  to  this  place  by 
Land.  The  person  I  send  has  not  the  smallest  knowledge  of  the 
Spanish  language,  consequently  there  can  be  little  communica- 
tion between  him  and  the  Spaniard  on  the  road;  but  if  there 
is  a  convention  established,  by  means  of  an  Interpreter  at  Bos- 
ton, and  essentials  well  understood  by  the  parties  before  they 
commence  their  journey;  there  will  not  be  such  an  occasion  for 
an  Interpreter  on  the  road,  as  to  be  a  counterprize  for  the  ex- 
pence,  as  Mr.  Fairfax  whom  I  send  will  be  both  guide  and 
paymaster,  leaving  nothing  for  the  Spaniard  to  do  but  to  be 

88 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers.  The  original  was  said  to 
be  in  the  possession  (1930)  of  Dr.  P.  T.  B.  Shaffer,  of  Elizabeth,  Pa. 

1785]  EXPENSES  OF  THE  JACKS  301 

attentive  to  the  animal.  The  hour  for  starting  in  the  morning 
and  putting  up  in  the  evening,  and  feeding  in  the  meantime 
being  fixed :  the  halting  days,  and  kind  of  food  for  the  Jack 
and  manner  of  treating  the  Spaniard  settled  and  clearly  under- 
stood; will  remove  all  difficulties  of  consequence  on  the  road, 
at  least  'till  they  get  to  New  York,  where  by  means  of  the  Span- 
ish Minister's  attendants  an  explanation  of  them,  if  any  then- 
be,  may  enable  the  parties  to  pursue  the  rest  of  their  journey 
with  more  ease. 

As  I  expect  two  Jacks  it  would  give  me  great  pleasure  if 
the  second  should  have  arrived;  that  one  trouble  and  expence 
might  serve  both.  Mr.  Fairfax,  the  bearer  of  this,  goes  from 
hence  to  Boston  in  the  Stage,  and  will  have  to  buy  a  horse  to 
return  home  upon.  I  prefered  this  method  on  account  of  the 
dispatch  with  which  he  would  reach  Boston,  and  because 
the  whole  journey  might  be  too  much  for  one  horse  taken  from 
hence,  to  perform  in  a  short  time.  If  the  Jack  is  led,  two  horses 
will  be  wanted,  and  if  two  Jacks  are  arrived,  three  may  be  neces- 
sary. These  uncertainties,  and  the  danger  of  trusting  a  large  sum 
in  specie  to  a  man  who  has  not  been  much  accustom'd  to  the 
care  of  it,  tho'  perfectly  honest,  have  induced  me  to  request 
the  favor  of  you  to  obtain  from  any  of  the  Merchants  in  Boston 
who  have  dealings  in,  and  who  may  want  to  make  remittances 
to  Alexandria,  as  much  money  as  will  make  these  purchases, 
and  defray  the  expenses  of  the  Men  and  Horses  back  to  me;  the 
Bill,  for  the  amount  of  which,  shall  be  paid  at  sight;  as  also 
the  charges  which  Mr.  Peace  may  have  against  me,  the  cost  of 
getting  him  from  Gloucester  to  you,  and  such  other  expences 
as  may  have  arisen  during  their  stay  in  Boston,  in  short  the 
whole.  Mr.  Fairfax  has  directions  with  respect  to  the  kind  of 
horses  I  want,  and  will  take  your  advice  how  to  procure  them 


on  the  best  terms,  as  well  as  in  all  other  matters,  for  the  favor 
of  which  I  shall  be  much  obliged  to  you.  Mrs.  Washington 
joins  me  in  respectful  compliments  to  Mrs.  Gushing,  your  son 
and  daughter;  and  with  great  esteem  and  regard,  I  have  the 
honor,  etc.87 


Mount  Vernon,  October  29, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  Inclosed  I  give  your  Excellency  the  trouble  of  re- 
ceiving an  Official  letter  from  me,  which  I  beg  the  favor  of  you 
to  lay  before  the  General  Assembly. 

Your  letter  of  enclosing  the  appointment  of  Colo. 

Neville,  in  the  room  of  Majr.  Massey,  came  duly  to  hand;  and 
the  latter  was  forwarded  by  a  safe  conveye. 

I  have  never  yet  seen  the  report  of  the  Commissioners  for 
examining  the  best  course  for  a  cut  between  Elizabeth  River 
and  the  Waters  of  No.  Carolina.  Your  Excellency  was  so  good 
as  to  offer  me  a  copy  of  it,  but  the  matter  has  either  slipped  your 
memory,  or  the  letter  which  contained  it  has  miscarried.  With 
respectful  compliments,  in  which  Mrs.  Washington  joins  me, 
to  Mrs.  Henry,  and  with  very  great  esteem  and  regard,  I  have 
the  honr.  etc.  [h.s.p.] 


Mount  Vernon,  October  29, 1785. 

My  Dr.  Sir:  Receive  my  thanks  for  your  obliging  favor  of 

the  20th.,  with  its  enclosure,  of  the  latter  I  now  avail  myself 

in  a  letter  to  the  Governor,  for  the  General  Assembly.  Your 

delicate  sensibility  deserves  my  particular  acknowledgements: 

87 From  the  "Letter  Book."  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


both  your  requests  are  complied  with,  the  first,  by  congeniality 
of  sentiment;  the  second  because  I  would  fulfill  your  desire. 

Conceiving  it  would  be  better  to  suggest  a  wish,  than  to 
propose  an  absolute  condition  of  acceptance;  I  have  so  ex- 
pressed myself  to  the  Assembly,  and  shall  be  obliged  to  you,  not 
only  for  information  of  the  result,  but  (if  there  is  an  acquies- 
cence on  the  part  of  the  Country)  for  your  sentiments  respecting 
the  appropriations;  from  what  may  be  said  upon  the  occasion, 
you  will  learn  what  would  be  most  pleasing,  and  of  the  greatest 
utility  to  the  public. 

By  Colo.  Henry  Lee  I  sent  you  the  reports  of  the  Secretary 
for  foreign  affairs  on  the  Consular  Department.  I  hope  you 
have  received  them. 

With  every  sentiment  of  esteem,  etc.88 


Mount  Vernon,  October  29, 1785. 
Sir:  Your  Excellency  having  been  pleased  to  transmit  to  me 
a  copy  of  the  Act89  appropriating  to  my  benefit  certain  shares 
in  the  companies  for  opening  the  navigation  of  James  and 
Potomac  rivers;  I  take  the  liberty  of  returning  to  the  General 
Assembly,  thro'  your  hands,  the  profound  and  grateful  ac- 
knowledgments inspired  by  so  signal  a  mark  of  their  benefi- 
cent intentions  towards  me.  I  beg  you  Sir,  to  assure  them,  that 
I  am  filled  on  this  occasion  with  every  sentiment,  which  can 
flow  from  a  heart  warm  with  love  for  my  Country,  sensible  to 
every  token  of  its  approbation  and  affection,  and  solicitous 
to  testify  in  every  instance  a  respectful  submission  to  its  wishes. 

83 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

^The  Assembly  forthwith  passed  an  act  that  the  shares  with  the  tolls  and  profits 
should  stand  appropriated  to  such  objects  of  a  public  nature  as  Washington  should  so 
deed  during  his  life  or  direct  by  his  last  will  and  testament.  A  certified  copy  of  this 
act  is  in  the  Washington  Papers,  under  date  of  Oct.  17,  1785. 


With  these  sentiments  in  my  bosom,  I  need  not  dwell  on  the 
anxiety  I  feel  in  being  obliged  in  this  instance  to  decline  a  favor 
which  is  rendered  no  less  flattering  by  the  manner  in  which  it 
is  conveyed,  than  it  is  affectionate  in  itself.  In  explaining  this 
observation  I  pass  over  a  comparison  of  my  endeavors  in  the 
public  service  with  the  many  honorable  testimonies  of  appro- 
bation which  have  already  so  far  over  rated  and  over  paid 
them;  reciting  one  consideration  only  which  supersedes  the 
necessity  of  recurring  to  every  other. 

When  I  was  first  called  to  the  station  with  which  I  was  hon- 
ored during  the  late  conflict  for  our  liberties,  to  the  diffidence 
which  I  had  so  many  reasons  to  feel  in  accepting  it,  I  thought 
it  my  duty  to  join  a  firm  resolution  to  shut  my  hand  against 
every  pecuniary  recompense.  To  this  resolution  I  have  invari- 
ably adhered,  and  from  it  (if  I  had  the  inclination)  I  do  not 
consider  myself  at  liberty  now  to  depart. 

Whilst  I  repeat  therefore  my  fervent  acknowledgments  to 
the  legislature  for  their  very  kind  sentiments  and  intentions 
in  my  favor,  and  at  the  same  time  beg  them  to  be  persuaded 
that  a  remembrance  of  this  singular  proof  of  their  goodness 
towards  me,  will  never  cease  to  cherish  returns  of  the  warmest 
affection  and  gratitude,  I  must  pray  that  their  Act,  so  far  as  it 
has  for  its  object  my  personal  emolument,  may  not  have  its  ef- 
fect; but  if  it  should  please  the  General  Assembly  to  permit 
me  to  turn  the  destination  of  the  fund  vested  in  me,  from  my 
private  emolument,  to  objects  of  a  public  nature,  it  will  be 
my  study  in  selecting  these  to  prove  the  sincerity  of  my  grati- 
tude for  the  honor  conferred  on  me,  by  preferring  such  as  may 
appear  most  subservient  to  the  enlightened  and  patriotic  views 
of  the  Legislature.  With  great  respect  etc.90 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  October  30, 1785. 

My  dear  Humphreys:  Since  my  last  of  the  1st.  of  September 
I  have  received  your  favour  of  the  17th.  of  July,  which  was 
brought  to  this  country  by  Mr.  Houdon ;  to  whom,  tho  I  had  no 
agency  in  the  matter,  I  feel  great  obligations  for  quitting  France, 
and  the  pressing  calls  of  the  Great  Ones  to  make  a  bust  of  me 
from  the  life.  I  am  not  less  indebted  to  the  favourable  opinion 
of  those  who  you  say  are  anxious  to  perpetuate  my  name,  and  to 
be  acquainted  with  the  memoirs  of  my  life.  So  far  as  these  are 
connected  with  the  history  of  the  revolution,  and  other  public 
documents,  they  may  easily  be  got  at;  all  beyond  these  is,  I  con- 
ceive very  unimportant.  My  letter  of  the  25th.  of  July  which  I 
presume  you  have  received  long  'ere  this  (but  for  fear  of  a  mis- 
carriage having  a  rough  copy  by  me,  I  send  you  a  duplicate) 
will  have  conveyed  my  sentiments  so  fully  that  I  shall  add 
nothing  further  on  the  subject  at  this  time,  than  to  assure  you 
that  I  was  then,  and  am  still  perfectly  sincere  in  the  proposal  it 

I  am  very  much  obliged  to  you  for  the  poem  you  sent  me,  I 
have  read  it  with  pleasure,  and  it  is  much  admired  by  all  those 
to  whom  I  have  showed  it. 

Nothing  has  happened  since  my  last;  nor  is  it  probable  any 
thing  interesting  will  happen  until  the  different  Assemblies 
convene.  Congress  as  usual,  are  proceeding  very  slowly  in  their 
business,  and  shameful  as  it  is,  are  often  at  a  stand  for  want  of  a 
sufficient  representation.  The  States  have  been  addressed  by 
them  on  the  subject,  but  what  will  be  the  effect  I  know  not.  To 
me  there  appears  such  lassitude  in  our  public  Councils  as  is 
truly  Shocking;  and  must  clog  the  wheels  of  Government; 


which  under  such  circumstances  will  either  stop  altogether,  or 
will  be  moved  by  ignorance  or  a  few  designing  men. 
With  every  sentiment  of  esteem  etc.91 


Mount  Vernon,  November  i,  1785. 
Dear  Sir :  After  I  had  written  to  you  on  Saturday,  I  saw  Lund 
Washington,  who  informed  me  that  he  had  seen  you  the  day 
before,  and  understood  from  you  that  it  would  not  be  conven- 
ient for  you  to  spare  your  Scow  until  next  week,  as  your  letter 
to  me  says  it  may  be  had  tomorrow  I  fear,  in  order  to  accomo- 
date me,  you  have  been  induced  to  put  your  self  to  an  incon- 
venience. To  prevent  which,  I  give  you  the  trouble  of  this  letter, 
as  it  would  give  me  real  concern  if  this  were  to  be  the  case.  The 
difference  to  me  is  very  trifling  whether  I  get  it  this  week  or 
next;  I  therefore  beg  that  you  would  make  the  time  perfectly 
suitable  to  your  own  business,  and  let  me  know  it,  to  which  I 
will  conform,  thankfully. 

I  am  much  obliged  by  the  assurance  of  procuring  me  a  level, 
and  shall  depend  upon  it.  and  am  very  much  so  for  your  kind 
offer  to  come  down  and  put  me  in  the  best  mode  of  getting  up 
Mud;  which  may  facilitate  my  experiments  greatly.  With  great 
esteem  and  regard  I  am  etc.92 


Mount  Vernon,  November  2, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  I  have  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  favor  of  the 
10th.  ulto.  together  with  the  wheat  from  the  Cape  of  Good 

81  The  text  is  from  the  Washington-Humphreys  copies  in  the  American  Antiquarian 
Society,  Worcester,  Mass.,  furnished  through  the  kindness  of  R.  W.  G.  Vail,  librarian. 
92  The  original  is  in  the  John  Hay  Library,  Brown  University. 


Hope;  which  you  were  so  obliging  as  to  send  me  by  the  Revd. 
Mr.  Griffith;  for  both  I  thank  you.  The  latter  shall  have  a  fair 
trial  in  the  same  inclosure  with  some  presented  to  me  by  Colo. 
Spaight,  (a  Delegate  in  Congress  from  No.  Carolina)  which 
had  been  planted,  and  had  obtained  a  vigorous  growth  before 
yours  came  to  hand.  This  also  was  from  the  Cape,  and  brought 
probably  by  the  same  Vessel.  I  sowed  it  in  Drills  two  feet  apart, 
and  five  inches  asunder  in  the  rows,  to  make  the  most  I  could 
of  it  by  cultivation  in  the  Spring:  this  method  will  in  my 
opinion  be  more  productive  than  Mr.  Bordeley's.  It  ought  to 
be  so  indeed,  as  the  expence  of  ground  is  much  greater,  and  the 
workings  will  probably  be  oftener. 

I  pray  you  to  present  my  best  wishes  and  most  respectful  com- 
pliments to  Mrs.  Powel,  to  which  please  to  add,  and  to  accept 
yourself  those  of  Mrs.  Washington.  I  have  the  honor,  etc.93 


Mount  Vernon,  November  5, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  Pursuant  to  the  request  of  your  last  letter  (dated 
about  the  middle  of  Septr.)  I  had  an  attested  copy  of  the  pro- 
ceedings, of  the  Potomac  Company,  and  those  of  the  Directors, 
taken  from  their  Books  and  sent  it  to  you  by  Post,  in  time  for 
the  Meeting  which  was  proposed  to  be  held  by  the  Directors 
of  the  James  river  navigation  on  the  26th.  of  that  month  in 
Richmond;  and  requested,  if  it  should  be  agreeable,  to  have 
a  copy  of  your  proceedings  sent  me  in  return.  Having  heard 
nothing  from  you  since,  and  having  experienced  many  in- 
stances of  inattention  and  neglect  in  the  Post  Offices ;  I  now  take 
the  liberty  of  enquiring  whether  my  letter  written  as  above  has 

03 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


reached  you.  If  it  has  not  I  will  send  another  copy,  tho'  it  will 
not  come  so  seasonably  as  the  first.  My  best  respects  to  your 
Lady,  and  with  very  great  esteem  and  regard,  I  am,  etc.94 


Mount  Vernon,  November  8, 1785. 

My  Dr.  Marqs:  Having  written  fully  to  you  about  the  first 
of  Septr.;  and  nothing  having  occurred  since  worth  reciting,  I 
should  not  have  given  you  the  trouble  of  receiving  a  letter 
from  me  at  this  time,  were  it  not  for  the  good  opportunity 
afforded  me  by  Captn.  Littlepage,  and  my  desire  not  to  suffer 
any  of  your  letters  to  remain  long  by  me  unacknowledged. 

I  have  now  to  thank  you  for  your  favors  of  the  9th.  and  14th. 
of  July;  the  first  by  Mr.  Houdon,  who  stayed  no  more  than  a 
fortnight  with  me;  and  to  whom,  for  his  trouble  and  risk  in 
crossing  the  Seas  (altho'  I  had  no  agency  in  the  business)  I  feel 
myself  under  personal  obligations.  The  second  giving  an  ac- 
count of  your  intended  tour,  which,  if  compleated  in  the  time 
you  propose,  will  exhibit  a  fresh  instance  of  the  celerity  of  your 
movements.  My  good  wishes  have  attended  you  thro'  the  whole 
of  it;  and  this  letter  I  hope  will  find  you  arrived  at  Paris  in  good 

Doctr.  Franklin  has  met  with  a  grateful  reception  in  Pennsyl- 
vania. He  has  again  embarked  on  a  troubled  ocean;  I  am  per- 
suaded with  the  best  designs,  but  I  wish  his  purposes  may  be 
answered,  which,  undoubtedly  are  to  reconcile  the  jarring  in- 
terests of  the  State.  He  permitted  himself  to  be  nominated  for 
the  City  of  Philadelphia  as  a  Counsellor,  a  step  to  the  chair,95 

94 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

On  November  6  Washington  wrote  a  brief  note  of  introduction  for  Noah  Webster 
to  the  Governor,  President  of  the  Senate,  and  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Delegates  of 

95  Of  President  of  Pennsylvania. 

1785]  A   TUTOR  NEEDED  309 

wch.  no  doubt  he  will  fill;  but  whether  to  the  satisfaction  of 
both  parties  is  a  question  of  some  magnitude,  and  of  real  impor- 
tance to  himself,  at  least  to  his  quiet.  His  Grandson98  shall 
meet  with  every  civility  and  attention  I  can  show  him,  when 
occasions  offer. 

One  of  my  Jack's  is  by  advices,  arrived  at  Boston;  but  I  still 
adhere  to  the  request  contained  in  my  last,  if  you  can  have  it 
complied  with  without  much  difficulty. 

Your  old  aid  George  has  taken  to  himself  the  wife  of  his 
choice:  the  honey  moon  is  not  yet  passed;  when  that  is  over,  I 
will  set  him  about  copying  your  Letters.  I  add  no  more  at  pres- 
ent, but  the  sincere  and  affectionate  regard  which  I  bear  to  you, 
and  in  which  Mrs.  Washington  and  all  here  join;  as  we  do  in 
respectful  compliments  and  best  wishes  for  Madame  de  La- 
fayette and  your  little  flock.  It  is  unnecessary  to  tell  you  how 
much  I  am,  &c.97 


Mount  Vernon,  November  10, 1785. 

Sir:  I  rely  more  upon  your  goodness  than  on  any  just  claim  I 
can  have  for  your  excuse,  for  the  liberty  I  am  about  to  take  with 

I  have  a  little  boy  something  turned  of  four,  and  a  girl  of  six 
years  old  living  with  me,  for  whom  I  want  a  Tutor.  They  are 
both  promising  children,  the  latter  is  a  very  fine  one,  and  altho' 
they  are  of  an  age  when  close  confinement  may  be  improper; 
yet  a  man  of  letters,  most  of  composition,  and  a  good  accompt- 
ant,  would  in  other  respects  be  essentially  useful  to  me  for  a 
year  or  two  to  come.  May  I  ask  you  therefore  Sir,  if  it  is  in  your 

88  William  Temple  Franklin. 

97 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


power,  conveniently,  to  engage  a  person  of  this  description 
for  me? 

Having  already  informed  you  what  my  wants  are,  it  is  need- 
less to  add  what  those  of  the  children  must  be ;  your  own  judge- 
ment, when  I  inform  you  that  I  mean  to  fit  the  boy,  in  my 
own  family,  for  a  University,  will  point  these  out.  The  greater 
the  knowledge  of  his  preceptor  is,  the  better  he  would  suit.  To 
teach  French  grammatically  is  essential,  as  it  is  now  becoming 
a  part  of  the  education  of  youth  in  this  Country. 

I  could  not  afford  to  give  more  than  ^50  Sterlg.  pr.  ann:  but 
this  sum,  except  in  the  article  of  cloathing,wou'd  be  clear,  as  the 
Gentleman  would  eat  at  my  table;  and  have  his  lodging  and 
washing  found  him;  and  his  Linen  and  stockings  mended  by 
the  Servants  of  my  Family.  It  may  happen  that  an  Episcopal 
clergyman  with  a  small  living,  and  unencumbered  by  a  family 
may  be  had  to  answer  this  description,  such  an  one  would  be 
preferred;  but  I  except  none  who  is  competent  to  my  purposes, 
if  his  character  is  unimpeached. 

I  will  make  no  apology  to  you  Sir,  for  this  liberty,  you  will 
oblige  me  if  you  can  serve  me;  but  I  do  not  mean  to  put  you  to 
much  trouble  to  do  it.  At  any  rate  let  me  entreat  an  acknowl- 
edgement of  this  letter,  with  your  sentiments  upon  it;  as  I  shall 
remain  in  a  state  of  suspence  until  I  hear  from  you.  I  am,  etc.98 


Mount  Vernon,  November  10, 1785. 
My  Dear  Sir:  Inclosed  you  have  a  copy  of  my  last;  since 
which  nothing  has  occurred  worthy  of  observation,  except  that 
in  this  part  of  the  Country  our  Crops,  particularly  of  Indian 

88 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  TUTORIAL  TERMS  311 

Corn,  have  suffered  exceedingly  by  a  drought  in  July  and  Au- 
gust, and  a  storm  in  September. 

As  I  am  in  the  habit  of  giving  you  trouble,  I  will  add  a  little 
more  to  what  my  last,  I  fear,  may  have  occasioned. 

The  two  youngest  children  of  Mr.  Custis :  the  oldest  a  girl  of 
six  years,  the  other  a  boy  a  little  turned  of  four  live  with  me. 
They  are  both  promising  children;  but  the  latter  is  a  remark- 
able fine  one  and  my  intention  is  to  give  him  a  liberal  educa- 
tion; the  rudiments  of  which  shall,  if  I  live,  be  in  my  own 
family.  Having  premised  this,  let  me  next,  my  good  Sir,  ask  if 
it  is  in  your  power  conveniently,  to  engage  a  proper  preceptor 
for  him  ?  at  present,  and  for  a  year  or  two  to  come,  much  con- 
finement would  be  improper  for  him;  but  this  being  the  period 
in  which  I  should  derive  more  aid  from  a  man  of  Letters  and  an 
accomptant  than  at  any  other,  to  assist  me  in  my  numerous 
correspondences,  and  to  extricate  the  latter  from  the  disordered 
state  into  which  they  have  been  thrown  by  the  war,  I  could  use- 
fully employ  him  in  this  manner  until  his  attention  should  be 
more  immediately  required  for  his  pupil. 

Fifty  or  Sixty  pounds  Sterling  pr.  ann.  with  board,  lodging, 
washing  and  mending,  in  the  family,  is  the  most  my  numerous 
expenditures  will  allow  me  to  give;  but  how  far  it  may  com- 
mand the  services  of  a  person  well  qualified  to  answer  the  pur- 
poses I  have  mentioned,  is  not  for  me  to  decide.  To  answer  my 
purposes,  the  Gentleman  must  be  a  Master  of  composition,  and 
a  good  Accomptant :  to  answer  his  pupil's,  he  must  be  a  classical 
scholar,  and  capable  of  teaching  the  French  language  gram- 
matically :  the  more  universal  his  knowledge  is,  the  better. 

It  sometimes  happens  that  very  worthy  men  of  the  Cloth 
come  under  this  description;  men  who  are  advanced  in  years, 
and  not  very  comfortable  in  their  circumstances :  such  an  one, 


if  unencumbered  with  a  family,  would  be  more  agreeable  to 
me  than  a  young  man  just  from  college ;  but  I  except  none  of  good 
moral  character,  answering  my  description,  if  he  can  be  well 

To  you  my  Dr.  Sir,  I  have  offered  this  my  first  address;  but 
if  you  should  think  my  purposes  cannot  be  subserved  in  your 
circle,  upon  the  terms  here  mentioned;  I  beg,  in  that  case,  that 
you  will  be  so  obliging  as  to  forward  the  enclosed  letter  as  it  is 
directed."  This  gentleman  has  written  to  me  upon  another 
subject,  and  favored  me  with  his  lucubrations  upon  Education, 
wch  mark  him  a  man  of  abilities,  at  the  same  time  that  he  is 
highly  spoken  of  as  a  teacher,  and  a  person  of  good  character. 
In  Scotland  we  all  know  that  education  is  cheap,  and  wages 
not  so  high  as  in  England:  but  I  would  prefer,  on  acct.  of  the 
dialect,  an  Englishman  to  a  Scotchman,  for  all  the  purposes  I 

We  have  commenced  our  operations  on  the  navigation  of  this 
river;  and  I  am  happy  to  inform  you,  that  the  difficulties  rather 
vanish  than  increase  as  we  proceed.  James  river  is  under  simi- 
lar circumstances;  and  a  cut  between  the  waters  of  Albemarle 
in  No.  Carolina,  and  Elizabeth  river  in  this  State,  is  also  in  con- 
templation, and  if  the  whole  is  effected,  and  I  see  nothing  to 
prevent  it,  it  will  give  the  greatest  and  most  advantageous  in- 
land Navigation  to  this  Country  of  any  in  the  Union,  or  I  be- 
lieve, in  the  world:  for  as  the  Shannondoah,  the  South  branch, 
Monocasy  and  Conogocheague  are  equally  capable  of  great 
improvement,  they  will  no  doubt  be  immediately  attempted; 
and  more  than  probable  a  communication  by  good  roads  will 
be  opened  with  the  waters  to  the  Westward  of  us;  by  means  of 
the  No.  Branch  of  Potomac,  which  interlocks  with  the  Cheat 
river  and  Yohoghaney  (branches  of  the  Monongahela)  that 

"See  Washington's  letter  to  George  Chapman,  Nov.  10,  1785,  ante. 

1785]  THE  FAIRFAX  ESTATE  313 

empty  into  the  Ohio  at  Fort  Pitt.  The  same  is  equally  practi- 
cable between  James  river  and  the  Green  briar  a  branch  of  the 
Great  Kanhawa,  which  empties  into  the  same  river  300  miles 
below  that  place;  by  means  whereof  the  whole  trade  of  that 
Territory  which  is  now  unfolding  to  our  view,  may  be  drawn 
into  this  State,  equally  productive  of  political  as  commercial 

As  I  never  ride  to  my  plantations  without  seeing  something 
which  makes  me  regret  having  continued  so  long  in  the  ruin- 
ous mode  of  farming,  which  we  are  in;  I  beg  leave,  tho'  I  am 
persuaded  it  will  give  you  trouble,  to  recall  your  attention  to 
the  requests  of  my  former  letter,  the  duplicate  of  which  you 
now  have.  Miscarriages,  and  where  this  is  not  the  case,  delays 
of  letters  must  be  my  apology  for  reiterating  the  matter,  that 
there  may  be  time  for  decision,  before  the  intervention  of 
another  year. 

The  marriage  mentioned  in  my  last  is  celebrated,  but  a  fit  of 
the  gout  prevented  Colo.  Bassett  from  being  at  it,  consequently 
I  am  to  lay  a  little  longer  out  of  your  kind  present.  Mrs.  Wash- 
ington who  has  very  indifferent  health,  joins  me  in  the  sin- 
cerest  and  best  wishes  for  every  blessing  which  can  be  bestowed 
on  Mrs.  Fairfax  and  yourself.  With  great  esteem,  &c. 

P.  S.  Since  writing  the  above  and  foregoing  I  have  seen  Mr. 
Battaile  Muse  who  looks  after  your  Estate;  and  upon  enquiry 
of  him,  am  authorized  to  inform  you  that  your  negroes,  and 
everything  under  his  care  are  tolerably  well,  and  your  prospect 
of  a  crop  midling,  which  is  saying  a  good  deal  this  year. 

I  have  the  pleasure  also  to  inform  you  that  your  Brother  and 
his  family  were  very  well  a  few  days  ago  when  I  was  there, 
attending  the  business  of  the  Potomac  company  at  the  Great 

Your  Sister  and  Family  are  likewise  well.  I  saw  her  three 
oldest  daughters  last  week,  the  elder  of  them,  Milly,  is  on  the 


eve  of  matrimony  with  a  Mr.  Ogden  Throckmorton,  a  match 
not  very  agreeable,  it  is  said,  to  her  friends,  and  kept  off  by  Mrs. 
Bushrod  'till  her  death  which  happened  some  three  or  four 
months  ago  but  now  is  yielded  to  by  her  Parents.1 


Mount  Vernon,  November  n,  1785. 

My  Dr.  Sir:  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  thanks  for  your  favor  of 
the  second,  and  for  the  present  which  it  announced;  than 
which  nothing  could  be  more  acceptable,  as  I  am  desireous  of 
getting  into  a  stock  of  Deer  with  as  much  expedition  as  the 
nature  of  the  case  will  admit.  But  if  the  Doe  you  offer  me  is 
not  inconvenient  to  yourself;  I  shou'd  be  glad  if  she  could  re- 
main at  Chatham  until  a  small  paddock  which  I  intend  to 
enclose  this  Winter  for  the  reception  of  these  animals,  is  railed 
in,  when  I  will  fall  upon  some  method,  least  liable  to  accidents, 
to  bring  her  up. 

I  congratulate  you  on  your  success  on  the  Falmouth  turf. 
Our  old  acquaintance  Saml.  Gallaway  retired  from  the  Alexa. 
races,  and  from  the  pomps  and  vanities  of  this  World  almost 
in  the  same  instant,  having  taken  his  departure  for  the  imper- 
vious shades  of  death  as  soon  as  he  got  home. 

My  respectful  compliments,  in  which  Mrs.  Washington,  are 
offered  to  Mrs.  Fitzhugh.  I  am,  etc.1 


Mount  Vernon,  November  11, 1785. 
My  Dr.  Sir:  I  was  at  the  point  of  sealing  the  dispatches  here- 
with enclosed,  when  I  reed,  a  visit  from  a  Gentleman  of  New 

'From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  CITRON,  GRAPEVINES  315 

England,  and  happening  to  mention  my  want  of  a  person  for 
the  purposes  recited  in  my  letter  to  you  of  yesterday's  date,  he 
seemed  to  think  that  such  a  character  as  I  have  there  described, 
might  be  had  from  their  Colleges  upon  very  moderate  terms, 
and  promised  to  make  enquiry,  and  to  advise  me  of  the  result 
in  a  little  time  after  his  return. 

The  intention  therefore  of  this  letter  is  to  request  that  the 
enclosure  for  Mr.  Chapman  may  be  detained  in  your  hands 
until  you  hear  further  from  me  on  this  subject.  But  I  would 
wish,  notwithstanding,  that  you  would  do  me  the  favor  to  ex- 
tend your  enquiries,  and  revolve  characters  in  your  own  mind, 
against  I  shall  hear  from  my  New  England  correspondent  that 
in  case  of  a  disappointment  there,  and  I  am  not  sanguine  in 
my  expectations  from  that  quarter,  I  may  be  advanced  in  this 
business  on  your  side  the  Atlantic. 

With  the  greatest  esteem,  etc.2 


Mount  Vernon,  November  18, 1785. 

Sir:  I  have  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  favor  of  the  19th.  of 
August  from  Madeira,  accompanied  by  a  box  of  Citron,  Lem- 
ons and  Onions;  for  which  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  grateful 

If  a  favourable  opportunity  should  offer  directly  to  this  River, 
at  a  proper  season  of  the  year,  you  would  encrease  the  obliga- 
tion you  have  already  laid  me  under,  by  sending  me  a  few 
slips  of  the  Vines  of  your  best  eating  Grape;  and  a  young  fig 
tree  or  two. 

From  my  esteem  for  your  father,  and  the  good  opinion  I  have 
always  heard  expressed  of  you,  it  gives  me  pleasure  to  learn 

2 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


that  you  are  appointed  by  Congress  Commercial  Agent  for  the 
United  States,  and  I  wish  you  may  long  continue  in  the  Office  to 
the  mutual  satisfaction  of  yourself  and  employers.  I  am,  etc.3 


Mount  Vernon,  November  18, 1785. 

Sir:  I  have  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  favor  of  the  25th.  of 
Septr.  by  Mr.  Corbett.  I  am  at  a  loss  to  express  my  sense  of  the 
great  attention  of  Mr.  Vaughan  (your  good  father)  to  me,  or  of 
the  obliging  manner  in  which  you  have  executed  his  request. 
The  Puncheon  of  rum  is  safe  arrived,  and  I  pray  you  to  accept 
my  acknowledgement  of,  and  to  offer  my  thanks  for  it  to  your 
generous  parent:  I  wish  I  had  something  more  agreeable  to 
present  him. 

I  pray  you  to  accept  a  dozen  barrels  of  the  Superfine  flour 
which  I  make  at  my  Mill.  The  quality  of  it  is  generally  es- 
teemed, and  I  hope  what  I  now  send  will  not  discredit  the  mart. 

It  is  to  be  regretted  that  Countries  which  could  mutually 
assist  and  benefit  each  other;  and  which  have  a  disposition  to 
do,  shou'd  be  prevented  by  an  interposing  power:  but  this 
being  the  case,  I  despair  of  seeing  any  change  in  the  political 
system  until  G:  B.  is  convinced  by  experience,  that  the  con- 
tracted and  illiberal  policy  she  is  now  pursuing  has  recoiled 
upon  herself.  In  the  meantime  it  is  to  be  lamented  that  any 
of  her  distant  Dependencies  should  suffer  from  the  effect  of 
such  ill  judged  regulations. 

Being  now  fixed  under  my  own  Vine,  and  my  own  Fig  tree, 
it  would  give  me  great  pleasure  to  entertain  you  in  the  shade  of 
them :  there  to  assure  you  of  the  esteem  and  regard  with  which, 
I  have  the  honor,  etc. 

8 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



P.  S.  The  flour  intended  for  your  use  is  branded  on  the  head 
of  the  Cask  G.  Washington  Bur  Superfine  and  marked  and 
numbered  on  the  side  S.  V. — No.  i — 12.4 


Mount  Vernon,  November  18, 1785. 

Sir:  Since  my  last,  I  have  been  favored  with  your  Letter  of 
the  3d.  of  July,  accompanied  by  patterns  of  the  Irish  flag;  but 
as  the  prices  were  not  annexed,  I  could  form  no  judgment,  nor 
make  any  choice  from  a  comparison  thereof  with  those  of 
the  former :  nor  indeed  is  it  now  essential,  as  the  one  I  had  fixed 
upon  in  my  last,  is  cheaper  I  presume  than  either  of  the  present 
samples  wou'd  be,  and  will  answer  my  purposes  equally  well. 
I  hope  too  the  former  are  in  forwardness,  and  that  I  may  expect 
them  soon,  at  any  rate  before  the  season  for  laying  them  shall 
advance  upon  me. 

Inclosed  I  send  you  a  Bill  on  London  for  fifty  pounds  sterling 
towards  payment  for  these  Flags;  and  will  follow  it  with  an- 
other to  the  full  amount  as  soon  as  I  am  informed  of  the  cost 
of  them. 

I  acquainted  you  in  my  last  that  the  House  Joiner  whom 
you  sent  me,  answered  my  expectations  fully.  He  is  a  good 
workman  and  a  sober  well  behaved  man.  I  am  thankful  to  you 
for  making  so  advantageous  a  choice;  but  as  there  seems  to  be 
a  difficulty  in  obtaining  a  Brick  layer,  and  indeed  a  risk  attend- 
ing it  which  I  was  not  acquainted  with  at  the  time  I  applied  to 
you  to  procure  these  artizans  for  me,  I  now  wish  you  to  decline 
all  further  enquiries  after  one. 

I  pray  you  to  present  (when  opportunity  offers)  my  respects 
to  your  father;  and  to  be  assured  yourself  of  the  esteem  and 
regard  with  which  I  am,  etc.4 

4 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  November  20, 1785. 

Dear  Lund:  I  know  as  little  of  G:  Ws.5  plans  or  wishes  as 
you  do,  never  having  exchanged  a  word  with  him  upon  the 
subject  in  my  life.  By  his  Advertisemt.  and  from  what  has  fre- 
quently dropped  from  Fanny,  he  is  desirous  of  getting  a  place 
in  this  Country  to  live  at. 

Before  their  marriage  he  and  Fanny  were  both  told  that  it 
would  be  very  agreeable  to  Mrs.  W.  and  myself,  that  they 
should  make  this  House  their  home  'till  the  squalling  and 
trouble  of  children  might  become  disagreeable.  I  have  not  re- 
peated the  matter  since,  because  it  was  unnecessary,  an  offer 
once  made  is  sufficient.  It  is  hardly  to  be  expected  that  two 
people  young  as  they  are,  with  their  nearest  connexions  at  ex- 
treme points,  would  like  confinement:  and  without  it,  he 
could  not  answer  my  purposes  as  a  Manager  or  Superintend, 
unless  I  had  more  leisure  to  attend  to  my  own  business;  which 
by  the  by  I  shall  aim  at,  let  the  consequences,  in  other  respects, 
be  as  they  may. 

These  however  are  no  reasons  for  detaining  you  a  moment 
longer  in  my  employ  than  suits  your  interest,  or  is  agreeable  to 
your  inclination,  and  family  concerns.  But  as  the  proposition  is 
new,  and  hath  never  been  revolved  in  my  mind,  it  will  take 
some  time  to  digest  my  own  thoughts  upon  the  occasion  before 
it  is  hinted  to  another. 

In  the  mean  while  if  I  can  do  with  the  aids  you  offer,  and  for 
which  I  sincerely  thank  you,  I  will  ask  your  constant  attention 
no  longer  than  this  year,  at  any  rate  not  longer  than  the  next. 
The  inexplicitness  of  this  answer  cannot,  I  presume,  put  you 
to  much  if  any  inconvenience  as  yet;  because  retirement  from, 
and  not  a  change  of  business,  is  professedly  your  object. 

6  George  Augustine  Washington. 

1785]  NEPHEWS'  EXPENSE  319 

However  unlucky  I  may  have  been  in  Crops,  &c.  of  late  years, 
I  shall  always  retain  a  grateful  sense  of  your  endeavors  to  serve 
me;  for  as  I  have  repeatedly  intimated  to  you  in  my  Letters 
from  Camp,  nothing  but  that  entire  confidence  which  I  re- 
posed, could  have  made  me  easy  under  an  absence  of  almost 
nine  years  from  my  family  and  Estate,  or  could  have  enabled 
me,  consequently,  to  have  given  not  only  my  time,  but  my 
whole  attention  to  the  public  concerns  of  this  Country  for  that 
space.  I  am,  &c.6 


Mount  Vernon,  November  22, 1785. 

Revd.  Sir:  The  expence  attending  the  residence  of  my  Neph- 
ews at  Georgetown  so  far  exceeds  the  idea  I  was  led  to  enter- 
tain when  they  went  there,  that,  in  behalf  of  their  Guardians, 
I  am  compelled  to  remove  them. 

When  they  were  sent  to  the  Academy  under  your  manage- 
ment, I  was  informed  by  Colo.  Fitzhugh,  that  the  charge  for 
schooling  Board  (if  I  am  not  mistaken)  was  £31.  each.  Cloath- 
ing  if  judiciously  applied  and  properly  attended  to,  I  knew 
could  not  be  a  very  great  expence,  for  boys  of  their  standing. 
But  to  my  surprize,  I  have  already  paid  Mr.  Stoddert  ,£67.18.6., 
Mr.  Bayly  ,£55.5.2.,  and  yesterday  in  a  letter  from  the  latter,  I 
am  informed  that  there  is  half  a  years  board  due  to  him  for 
each,  and  an  accot.  of  cloathing  besides,  yet  to  be  exhibited. 

The  leading  motive  Sir,  which  influenced  me  to  send  them 
to  Georgetown  was,  their  boarding  with  you;  and  I  expected 
from  what  had  passed  between  us,  after  the  intervention  which 
had  occasioned  the  suspension  of  it,  they  would  have  returned 

6 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

On  November  20  Washington  answered,  briefly,  an  application  from  Alexander  de 
Gabian,  of  Marseilles,  France,  who  applied  for  membership  in  the  Society  of  the  Cin- 
cinnati. A  copy  of  this  letter  is  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


to  you:  but  now  Mr.  Bayly  writes  me  that  he  also  declines 
boardingthem  after  the  24th.  inst:  and  points  out  a  thirdperson. 
These  several  circumstances  combining,  added  to  a  con- 
viction founded  in  experience,  that  I  cannot  restrain  the  pro- 
fuse and  improper  advances  of  Goods  for  them  at  a  distance, 
have  induced  me  to  bring  them  to  Alexandria,  where  I  shall 
be  a  witness  to  their  wants,  and  can  supply  their  necessities 
upon  more  advantageous  terms,  than  they  have  been  hitherto. 
I  am,  etc.7 


Mount  Vernon,  November  22, 1785. 

Sir:  I  have  received  your  favor  of  the  19th.  The  expensive 
manner  in  which  my  nephews  are  proceeding  at  George  Town, 
added  to  some  other  considerations,  have  determined  me  to 
remove  them  from  the  Academy  at  that  place,  to  Alexandria. 

I  have  already,  for  about  fourteen  months  residence,  paid  to 
Mr.  Stoddert  and  yourself  ^125.11.0  on  their  Accot.;  and  it 
appears  from  your  letter  of  the  above  date,  that  for  near  half 
that  time,  they  are  yet  owing  for  Board,  and  have  an  Accot. 
besides  for  cloathing;  and  these  too  almost  independent  of 
their  schooling.  I  am,  etc.7 


[November  23, 1785,9]  Friday,  past  2  'Oclock. 
General  Washington  presents  his  best  respects  to  Mrs.  Du- 
lany  with  the  horse  blueskin,  which  he  wishes  was  better  worth 
her  acceptance. 

'From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

8  Nee  Rebecca  Smith. 

9  Approximate  date. 


Marks  of  antiquity  have  supplied  the  place  of  those  beauties 
with  which  this  horse  abounded,  in  his  better  days.  Nothing 
but  the  recollection  of  which,  and  of  his  having  been  the 
favourite  of  Mr.  Dulany  in  the  days  of  his  Courtship,  can  rec- 
oncile her  to  the  meagre  appearance  he  now  makes. 

Mrs.  Washington  presents  her  Compliments  and  thanks  to 
Mrs.  Dulany  for  the  Roots  of  Scarcity.10 


Mount  Vernon,  November  24, 1785. 

Sir:  I  am  really  ashamed  at  this  late  hour  to  have  the  receipt 
of  your  favor  of  the  7th.  of  Octor.,  to  acknowledge:  but  the 
truth  is  it  was  handed  to  me  among  many  other  Letters,  got 
buried,  and  was  forgot  until  your  second  favor  of  the  8th.  inst: 
brought  it  to  remembrance. 

Since  the  receipt  of  the  latter,  my  time  has  been  much  occu- 
pied with  several  matters,  some  of  which  were  pressing:  these, 
with  the  expectation  of  a  personal  interview  (for  I  have  been 
twice  since  in  Alexandria  without  seeing  you)  must  plead  my 
excuse  for  a  seeming,  tho'  far  from  an  intentional  disrespect. 

As  nothing  is  of  more  importance  than  the  education  of 
youth,  so  consequently  nothing  can  be  more  laudably  bene- 
ficial than  the  association  which  is  formed  in  Alexandria  to 
effect  this  desireable  purpose.  I  therefore  not  only  highly  ap- 
prove the  institution,  but  am  thankful  for  the  honor  done  me 
by  enrolling  my  name  among  the  Managers  of  it;  and  as  far  as 
it  is  in  my  power  will  give  it  support. 


The  text  is  from  a  photostat  of  the  original  kindly  furnished  by  Mrs.  Jeanette  C. 
Clagett,  of  Baltimore,  Md. 
"Of  Alexandria,  Va. 


There  is  a  matter  which  I  will  take  some  other  opportunity 
of  bringing  before  the  Trustees  for  their  consideration;  that, 
if  it  can  be  made  to  comport  with  the  present  establishment  of 
the  Alexandria  Academy,  and  engrafted  therewith,  it  may  be- 
come part  of  the  institution.  At  an  hour  of  more  leisure  I  will 
communicate  it.  In  the  meanwhile,  I  am,  etc.12 


Mount  Vernon,  November  25,  1785. 

Dear  Sir:  Since  I  had  the  honor  of  writing  to  you  on  the 
20th.  of  March,  which  was  done  in  haste  (having  but  little 
notice  of  Capt:  Boyles  intended  departure,  before  the  time  ap- 
pointed for  his  sailing,  and  then  to  send  my  dispatches  to 
Richmond  125  miles),  I  have  been  favored  with  your  letters  of 
the  3d.  of  March,  25th.  of  May,  and  23d.  of  July.  The  first  was 
forwarded  to  me  by  Captn.  Bibby,  whom  I  have  not  yet  had 
the  pleasure  of  seeing;  tho'  he  gives  me  assurances  of  it,  and 
to  whom  I  shall  have  pleasure  in  rendering  any  services  in  my 
power  consistently,  if  it  should  be  found  necessary. 

The  opposition  which  the  virtuous  characters  of  Ireland 
have  given  to  the  attempts  of  a  British  Administration's  inter- 
fering with  its  manufactures,  fettering  its  commerce,  restrain- 
ing the  liberties  of  its  subjects  by  their  plan  of  reform  &ca.  &ca., 
will  hand  their  names  to  posterity  with  that  veneration  and 
respect  to  which  their  amor  patriae  entitles  them. 

Precedents,  as  you  justly  observe,  are  dangerous  things,  they 
form  the  arm  which  first  arrests  the  liberties  and  happiness  of 
a  Country.  In  the  first  approaches  they  may  indeed  assume  the 
garb  of  plausibility  and  moderation,  and  are  generally  spoken 
of  by  the  movers  as  a  chip  in  the  porrage  (to  avoid  giving 

12 From  the  "  Letter  Book  "  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  IRISH  AFFAIRS  323 

alarm),  but  soon  are  made  to  speak  a  language  equally  decisive 
and  irresistible;  which  shews  the  necessity  of  opposition  in  the 
first  attempts  to  establish  them,  let  them  appear  under  what 
guise  or  Courtly  form  they  may;  and  proves  too  that  vigi- 
lance and  watchfulness  can  scarcely  be  carried  to  an  excess  in 
guarding  against  the  insiduous  arts  of  a  Government  founded 
in  corruption. 

I  do  not  think  there  is  as  much  wisdom  and  sound  policy 
displayed  in  the  different  Legislatures  of  these  States  as  might 
be;  yet  I  hope  every  thing  will  come  right  at  last.  In  republican 
Governments  it  too  often  happens  that  the  people  (not  always 
seeing)  must  feel  before  they  act:  this  is  productive  of  errors 
and  temporary  evils,  but  generally  these  evils  are  of  a  nature 
to  work  their  own  cure. 

The  situation  of  affairs  in  Ireland,  whilst  the  propositions 
were  pending  in  the  Parliament  of  it,  would,  I  concluded,  be  a 
means  of  postponing  your  voyage  to  this  Country;  but  as  these 
seem  to  have  met  their  quietus,  I  hope  nothing  else  will  inter- 
vene to  prevent  your  fulfilling  your  expectation  of  coming  in 
the  Spring;  the  season  will  then  be  favourable  for  crossing  the 

Had  I  been  present  and  apprized  of  your  intention  of  mak- 
ing an  aerial  voyage  with  Monsr.  Potain,  I  should  have  joined 
my  entreaties  to  those  of  Lady  Newenham  to  have  prevented 
it.  As  yet,  I  see  no  object  to  warrant  a  gentleman  of  fortune 
(happy  in  himself,  happy  in  a  family  wch.  might  be  rendered 
miserable  by  a  disaster,  against  which  no  human  foresight  can 
guard)  running  such  a  risk.  It  may  do  for  young  men  of  sci- 
ence and  spirit  to  explore  the  upper  regions:  the  observation 
there  made  may  serve  to  ascertain  the  utility  of  the  first  dis- 
covery, and  how  far  it  may  be  applied  to  valuable  purposes. 
To  such  alone  I  think  these  voyages  ought  at  present  to  be  con- 
signed, and  to  them  handsome  public  encouragements  should 


be  offer'd  for  the  risk  they  run  in  ascertaining  its  usefulness,  or 
the  inutility  of  the  pursuit. 

I  have  neither  seen,  nor  heard  of  Mr.  Thorpe,  the  stucco 
worker  mentioned  in  your  letter  of  the  23d.  of  July.  A  good 
man  acquainted  with  that  business  would  have  come  very 
opportunely  to  me,  as  I  had,  and  now  have  a  large  room 
which  I  am  about  to  finish  in  this  way.  I  have  at  length  en- 
gaged a  person  to  do  it;  who  from  having  no  rival,  imposes  his 
own  terms,  which  I  think  are  exorbitant;  good  workmen  of 
any  profession,  would  meet  encouragement  in  these  States. 

For  the  many  marks  of  attention  which  you  have  been 
pleased  to  bestow  on  me,  I  feel  myself  your  Debtor:  could  my 
picture  which  is  placed  in  a  group  with  Dr.  Franklin,  the 
Marqs.  de  la  Fayette  and  others  in  your  library,  speak  the  sen- 
timents of  the  original,  it  would  salute  you  every  morning  with 
its  acknowledgements.  I  have  never  seen  more  than  one  pic- 
ture of  Genl.  Green,  and  that  a  mezzotinto  print,  sent  to  me  a 
few  days  ago  only,  by  the  publisher  a  Mr.  Brown  at  No.  10 
George  Yard,  Lombard  street,  London;  taken  it  is  said  from  a 
painting  done  at  Philada. 

The  Magazines,  Gazettes  &ca.  which  you  had  the  goodness 
to  forward  to  me,  came  safe,  and  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  thanks 
for  them.  My  best  respects,  in  which  Mrs.  Washington  joins, 
are  presented  to  Lady  Newenham  and  yourself.  With  senti- 
ments of  great  esteem  and  regard,  I  am,  etc.13 


Mount  Vernon,  November  25, 1785. 
Sir:  If  it  was  in  my  power  to  give  you  the  information,  and 
the  satisfaction  which  is  required  in  your  letter  of  the  10th.  of 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  FRENCH   CAPTAINS  325 

October,  I  would  do  it  with  pleasure :  but  not  recollecting  enough 
of  the  particular  circumstances  attending  the  Sloop  Hester,  the 
whole  of  the  business  respecting  this  and  other  vessels,  being 
entirely  within  the  Department  of  the  Quarter  Mr.  General, 
I  can  offer  nothing  which  will  facilitate  your  settlement  with 
the  public. 

I  do  remember  very  well  that  the  service,  in  the  Spring  of 
1776,  required  an  impress,  and  purchase  of  Vessels;  that  orders 
issued  to  the  Quarter  Master  General  for  that  purpose;  and  I 
have  some  recollection  that  the  Sloop  Hester  was  one  of  those 
Vessels  which  were  taken  into  the  service  of  the  public,  and  that 
she  was  afterwards  sold  to  Colo.  Sears:  but  upon  what  terms; 
what  became  of  her  after  that;  how  the  Accots.  respecting  her 
stand,  or  how  the  matter  is  to  be  finally  settled,  I  know  not. 
I  am,  etc.14 


Mount  Vernon,  November  25, 1785. 
Sir :  I  have  been  honoured  with  your  letter  of  the  18th.  of  July 
from  Paris,  enclosing  certificates  in  favor  of  Captns.  Stack  and 
Macarthy.15  I  pray  you  to  be  assured  that  I  should  have  pleas- 
ure in  doing  justice  to  the  merits  of  these  Officers,  and  in  oblig- 
ing you  if  the  power  of  deciding  lay  with  me.  But,  though  I  am 
in  sentiment  with  the  Gentlemen  who  have  declared  in  favor 
of  the  pretensions  of  Captns.  Stack  and  Maccarthy's  right  to 
become  members  of  the  Cincinnati,  yet,  in  matters  of  opinion 
I  have  no  authority  to  pronounce  them  such.  As  French  Offi- 
cers, having  borne  Continental  Commissions,  my  opinion  is 
that  their  best  mode  would  have  been,  to  have  got  themselves 

14 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

^Capts.  Edward  Stack  and  Eugene  MacCarthy  had  served  as  volunteers  on  the  Bon 
Homme  Richard. 


admitted  as  members  of  [some]16  State  Society  before  the 
Kings  edict,  or  order  in  Council  took  effect,  for  if  I  mistake  not 
all  Officers  in  the  Service  of  France  whose  names  are  not  par- 
ticularly enumerated  in  that  order  are  excluded  thereby. 

This  however  is  a  matter  of  which  they,  or  you,  can  be  better 
ascertained  of  than  I.  At  any  rate  nothing  can  be  done  in  this 
Country  until  the  next  General  Meeting;  and  that  cannot  hap- 
pen in  less  than  Eighteen  months,  and  may  be  much  longer 
delayed.  I  have  the  honor  etc.  [m.l.] 


Mount  Vernon,  November  28, 1785. 

Sir:  I  request  the  favor  of  you  to  send  me  for  the  use  of  Mrs. 
Washington,  a  handsome  and  fashionable  gold  watch,  with  a 
fashionable  chain  or  string,  such  as  are  worn  at  present  by 
Ladies  in  genteel  life. 

These  to  be  paid  for,  as  the  other  things  are,  from  the  fund  in 
the  Bank.  I  am,  etc. 

P.S.  Let  the  hour  and  minute  hands  be  set  with  Diamonds.17 


Mount  Vernon,  November  30, 1785. 
Dear  Sir :  I  have  been  honored  with  your  favor  of  the  9th.  and 
have  received  the  pamphlet  which  you  were  so  obliging  as  to 
send  me,  entitled  "  Considerations  on  the  Order  of  Cincinnatus, 

10The  bracketed  word  has  been  supplied  from  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Wash- 
ington Papers. 

On  November  26  Washington  commenced  a  record  on  folio  sheets  of  work  done  at 
the  different  farms  of  Mount  Vernon.  He  continued  it  up  to  Apr.  15,  1786,  inclusive. 
George  Augustine  Washington  then  kept  the  record,  commencing  April  22,  and  con- 
tinued it  through  the  year  1786.  These  folio  sheets  are  in  the  Washington  Papers 
under  date  of  Nov.  26,  1785. 

17  From  the  "  Letter  Book  "  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  A  RUM  PUNCHEON  327 

by  the  Count  de  Mirabeau." 18  I  thank  you  my  good  Sir,  for 
this  instance  of  your  attention;  but  wish  you  had  taken  time 
to  have  perused  it  first,  as  I  have  not  yet  had  leisure  to  give  it  a 
reading.  I  thought,  as  most  others  seemed  to  think,  that  all  the 
exceptionable  parts  of  that  Institution  had  been  done  away 
at  the  last  general  meeting;  but  with  those  who  are  disposed 
to  cavil,  or  who  have  the  itch  of  writing  strongly  upon  them, 
nothing  can  be  made  to  suit  their  palates:  the  best  way  there- 
fore to  disconcert  and  defeat  them,  is  to  take  no  notice  of  their 
publications;  all  else  is  but  food  for  declamation. 

There  is  not  I  conceive,  an  unbiassed  mind,  that  would  re- 
fuse the  Officers  of  the  late  Army  the  right  of  associating  for  the 
purpose  of  establishing  a  fund  for  the  support  of  the  poor  and 
distressed  of  their  fraternity,  when  many  of  them  it  is  well 
known,  are  reduced  to  their  last  shifts  by  the  ungenerous  con- 
duct of  their  Country,  in  not  adopting  more  vigorous  measures 
to  render  their  Certificates19  productive.  That  charity  is  all  that 
remains  of  the  original  Institution,  none  who  will  be  at  the 
trouble  of  reading  it  can  deny. 

I  have  lately  received  a  letter  from  Mr.  Vaughn  (your  son) 
of  Jamaica,  accompanied  by  a  puncheon  of  rum,  which  he  in- 
forms me  was  sent  by  your  order  as  a  present  to  me.  Indeed, 
my  Dr.  Sir,  you  overwhelm  me  with  your  favors,  and  lay  me 
under  too  many  obligations  to  leave  a  hope  remaining  of  dis- 
charging them.  Hearing  of  the  distress,  in  which  that  Island, 
with  others  in  the  Wt.  Indies  is  involved  by  the  late  hurricane, 
I  have  taken  the  liberty  of  requesting  Mr.  Vaughans  acceptance, 
for  his  own  use,  of  a  few  barrels  of  superfine  Flour  of  my  own 

18Honore  Gabriel  Riquetti,  Comte  de  Mirabeau,  first  published  his  "Considerations 
sur  l'ordre  de  Cincinnatus"  in  London,  in  1784.  An  English  translation  was  also  pub- 
lished in  London  in  1785;  the  English  translation  was  published  in  Philadelphia  in 
1786;  and  a  German  translation  in  Berlin  in  1787. 

"Of  pay  due. 


manufacturing.  My  best  respects,  in  which  Mrs.  Washington 
joins,  are  offered  to  Mrs.  Vaughan,  yourself  and  family,  and 
with  the  highest  esteem  &c.20 


Mount  Vernon,  November  30, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  Your  favor  of  the  16th.  came  duly  to  hand,  and  I 
thank  you  for  its  several  communications.  The  resolutions 
which  were  published  for  consideration,  vesting  Congress  with 
powers  to  regulate  the  Commerce  of  the  Union,  have  I  hope 
been  acceded  to.  If  the  States  individually  were  to  attempt  this, 
an  abortion,  or  a  many  headed  Monster  would  be  the  issue.  If 
we  consider  ourselves,  or  wish  to  be  considered  by  others  as  a 
united  people,  why  not  adopt  the  measures  which  are  char- 
acteristic of  it,  and  support  the  honor  and  dignity  of  one  ?  If  we 
are  afraid  to  trust  one  another  under  qualified  powers  there  is 
an  end  of  the  Union.  Why  then  need  we  be  sollicitous  to  keep 
up  the  farce  of  it  ? 

It  gives  me  pleasure  to  hear  that  there  is  such  an  accordance 
of  sentiments  between  the  Eastern  and  Western  parts  of  this 
State.  My  opinion  of  the  separation  has  always  been,  to  meet 
them  half  way, upon  fair  and  just  grounds;  and  part  like  friends 
disposed  to  acts  of  brotherly  kindness  thereafter.  I  wish  you 
had  mention'd  the  territorial  line  between  us.  The  Port  Bill; 
the  assize  Law  (or  any  substitute  for  the  speedy  Administra- 
tion of  Justice) being  established;  good  faith  with  respect  to 
treaties  preserved  by  public  acts,  taxation  continued  and  regu- 
larly collected,  that  justice  to  one  part  of  the  community  may 
keep  pace  with  relief  to  the  other,  and  our  national  character 
for  Justice,  thereby  supported;  a  due  attention  to  the  Militia, 
and  encouragements  to  extend  the  inland  navigation  of  this 

^From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  GREAT  FALLS  CANAL  329 

Commonwealth  where  it  is  useful  and  practicable,  (which  will 
not  only  be  of  amazing  convenience  and  advantage  to  its  Citi- 
zens but  sources  of  immense  wealth  to  the  Country  through 
some  of  its  channels), are  among  the  great  and  important  ob- 
jects which  will  come  before  you,  and  a  due  attention  to  them 
will,  I  hope,  mark  the  present  epocha  for  having  produced  able 
statesmen,  sound  patriots  and  liberal  minded  men. 

At  a  late  meeting  of  the  Directors  of  the  Potomac  navigation  at 
the  great  Falls,  and  from  a  critical  examination  of  the  ground 
at  that  place;  we  unanimously  determined  to  petition  the  As- 
semblies of  the  two  States21  to  be  relieved  from  the  expence 
of  sinking  our  canals  four  feet  deep,  as  a  considerable  expence 
and  no  advantage  that  we  could  discover,  was  likely  to  attend 
it.  As  the  petition  which  is  herewith  sent  under  cover  to  you 
and  Colo.  Syms,22  recites  the  reasons  on  which  it  is  founded 
I  shall  not  repeat  them:  the  public  as  well  as  the  company's 
interest  calls  for  an  ceconomical  use  of  the  fund  which  is  sub- 
scribed for  this  undertaking;  the  enemies  therefore  (if  there  are 
any)  to  the  navigation,  are  equally  bound  with  its  friends,  to 
give  it  support. 

I  should  be  much  obliged  to  you  for  desiring  the  public 
printer  to  send  me  the  Journals  of  the  present  Session  from  its 
commencement,  and  to  do  it  thro'  the  session  as  fast  as  they  are 
printed,  by  the  Post.  I  pray  you  to  pay  him  for  them,  and  for 
my  Gazette  (if  Hay  is  the  public  printer)  and  I  will  repay  you 
with  thanks  when  you  return. 

I  am  very  glad  to  hear  you  have  got  so  well  over  your  fever. 
-Mrs.  Stuart  has  had  a  bad  cold,  but  is  getting  better.  All  here 
join  me  in  best  wishes  for  you,  and  I  am,  etc.23 

^The  text  of  this  petition  is  printed  in  the  American  Historical  Review,  vol.  28, 
pp.  497,  et  seq. 

22  Col.  Charles  Simms. 

23 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  November  30, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  Since  my  last,  I  have  been  favored  with  your  letters 
of  the  10th.  and  18th.  inst:,  the  last  covering  Mr.  Rawlins's  plan 
and  estimate  for  my  new  room,  for  your  exertion  to  obtain 
which,  I  thank  you.  The  plan  is  plain,  as  I  requested;  but  the 
Estimate  I  think  is  large:  however  as  I  pretend  not  to  be  a  com- 
petent judge  of  work,  and  know  that  we  are  always  in  the 
power  of  workmen,  I  will  not  decide  absolutely  upon  the  mod- 
eration he  pretends  to  have  observed;  but  as  your  readiness  to 
oblige  me  in  this  business  has  already  involved  you  in  trouble, 
I  will  request  the  favor  of  you  to  take  a  little  more,  to  bring  it 
to  an  explanation  and  close. 

For  this  purpose  I  send  you  herewith  Rawlins's  plan  and 
estimate;  and  would  beg  the  favor,  as  I  have  understood  that 
Mr.  Goff24  of  Baltimore  has  had  much  work  of  this  kind  done 
by  Mr.  Rawlins,  to  compare  my  plan  and  estimate  with  his 
work  and  prices;  and  if  Mr.  Goff  is  a  man  of  information,  and 
one  who  scrutinizes  into  work  and  prices  from  the  time  it  takes 
to  execute  it,  to  ask  his  opinion  of  the  charge. 

If  the  result  of  your  scrutiny  is  in  favor  of  Mr.  Rawlins's 
moderation,  I  have  then  to  pray  that  the  matter  may  be  fixed 
with  him,  and  a  time  (not  to  exceed  if  possible,  the  middle  of 
April)  agreed  on  to  begin  the  work  with  a  serious  intention  to 
execute  it  with  dispatch:  also  that  the  article  of  travelling  ex- 
pences  may  be  defined  and  reduced  to  a  stipulated  sum.  Or, 
wch.  would  come  cheaper  to  me,  that  my  waggon  (a  covered 
one)  should  remove  his  people  and  tools  hither  and  back; 
and  an  equivalent  named  in  lieu  of  expences  for  himself.  This 
will  leave  no  ground  for  discontent  on  either  side,  than  which 


1785]  THE  NEW  ROOM  331 

nothing  being  more  disagreeable  to  me,  I  always  endeavour  to 
avoid  it:  I  wish  to  know  also,  whether  he,  or  I  am  to  furnish 
the  materials. 

If  on  the  other  hand  it  shall  be  found  that  his  price  is  too  high 
(for  it  is  not  amiss  to  observe  here,  that  almost  the  whole  of  the 
mouldings  and  figures  are  cast)  I  should  be  obliged  to  you  to 
know  from  him  whether  he  will  take  less,  and  precisely  the 
sum  to  execute  the  work  according  to  the  plan,  and  this  with- 
out much  time  for  consideration;  for  having  been  twice  dis- 
appointed already,  and  the  work  thereby  considerably  delayed, 
to  my  great  inconvenience,  I  am  determined  if  Mr.  Rawlins 
will  not  do  it  reasonably,  and  begin  it  seriously  in  the  Spring, 
to  write  immediately  to  Sir  Edwd.  Newenham  of  Dublin,  who 
has  already  introduced  the  subject  to  me,  and  given  strong  as- 
surances of  a  visit  in  the  Spring,  to  bring  me  a  compleat  work- 
man when  he  comes,  on  yearly  wages.  But  this  I  would  avoid 
(as  you  will  please  to  inform  Mr.  Rawlins)  if  he  would  do  the 
work  at  near  its  value,  and  in  season.  If  you  finally  engage 
with  Mr.  Rawlins  I  should  like  to  have  a  specific  agreement 
drawn,  to  prevent  mistakes  or  further  delay;  for  the  doing  of 
which  I  wou'd  chearfully  pay  an  Attorney.  Enclosed  is  a  letter 
for  Mr.  Rawlins,  open. 

Had  the  public  prints  spoken  truth  respecting  the  present 
from  his  catholic  Majesty,  and  two  Jacks  had  arrived;  it  would 
have  given  me  great  pleasure  to  have  obliged  your  friends  on 
the  Eastern  shore  by  a  compliance  with  your  request.  There 
were  only  two  presented  to  me  by  the  King  of  Spain,  one  of 
which  by  the  advices  I  have  received  from  Boston,  was  lost  in  a 
storm  on  his  passage  to  Beverly.  The  other  will  scarcely  do 
more,  if  he  gets  home  safe,  than  answer  my  own  purposes;  but 
if  you,  or  any  friend  of  yours  have  a  she  ass  which  you  would 
wish  to  put  to  him  for  preservation  of  the  breed,  he  is  much 


at  your  service,  and  you  shall  be  very  welcome  to  the  use  of 
him  for  her. 

Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  best  wishes  for  Mrs.  Tilghman 
and  yourself;  and  with  sentiments  of  sincere  esteem  and  regard, 
I  am,  etc.25 


Mount  Vernon,  November  30, 1785. 

Sir:  Your  Letter  and  plan  came  safe,  tho'  I  do  not  pretend  to 
be  a  competent  judge  of  this  kind  of  work,  yet  from  the  little 
experience  I  have  had  in  it,  and  from  a  certain  knowledge  that 
most  of  the  mouldings  and  decorations  are  with  great  ease  and 
expedition  cast,  of  a  material  too  which  is  by  no  means  expen- 
sive, I  do  not  scruple  to  declare  that  your  Estimate  exceeded  my 

This,  and  not  understanding  the  plan  fully  from  an  unac- 
customedness  to  drawings,  together  with  the  indefinite  charge 
of  travelling  expences,  which  may  be  great  or  little;  and  a  de- 
sire of  having  something  finally  determined  without  giving  the 
trouble  of  coming  here  again;  or  of  fixing  matters  by  an  inter- 
course of  letters  which  might  be  tedious  and  troublesome,  and 
the  first  of  which  by  no  means  suiting  me,  as  I  must  be  upon  a 
certainty,  having  been  twice  disappointed  and  put  to  much  in- 
convenience for  want  of  the  room.  These  reasons  I  say,  have 
induced  me  to  communicate  my  ideas  to  Colo.  Tilghman  on 
this  business,  and  to  authorize  him  on  the  spot  to  fix  matters 
decidedly  with  you.  Any  Agreement  therefore  which  he  may 
make  on  by  behalf,  will  be  as  obligatory  on  me  as  if  I  was  pres- 
ent to  sign  and  ratify  it. 

If  an  Agreement  takes  place,  I  wish  to  know  precisely,  and 
as  soon  as  may  be,  what  will  be  previously  necessary  for  my 

2uFrom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  THE  DISMAL  SWAMP  333 

Joiners  and  Carpenters  to  do,  or  to  prepare  that  there  may  be 
no  delay  after  you  arrive;  for  besides  the  inconvenience  I  al- 
ready feel  from  the  want  of  the  new  room,  you  know  that 
to  complete  this,  the  communication  with  another  must  be 
opened,  and  that  unless  both  are  finished  before  the  season  ar- 
rives which  requires  lire,  I  shall  be  much  distressed.  Whilst  the 
weather  is  warm,  the  Common  Hall  and  Piazza  will  do  very 
well,  as  substitute  for  the  Drawing  Room  or  Parlour;  but  when 
the  weather  becomes  cool  we  must  retire  to  a  fireside. 

I  think  it  highly  probable  that  the  ceilings  of  my  upper  rooms 
may  want  plaistering,  which  would  make  the  job  more  deserv- 
ing attention;  some  of  them  I  am  sure  do,  and  if  we  can  agree 
upon  a  price  I  may  be  inclined  to  renew  the  whole.  I  am,  etc.20 


Mount  Vernon,  November  30, 1785. 
Dear  Sir:  I  have  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  Excellency's 
favor  of  the  nth.  and  am  much  obliged  to  you  for  the  Commis- 
sioners report  respecting  the  cut  from  the  Waters  of  Elizabeth 
River  to  those  of  Albemarle  Sound.  And  it  is  with  great  pleas- 
ure I  have  since  heard  that  that  matter  is  in  a  prosperous  way  in 
our  Assembly,  and  placed  on  a  footing  (reasonable  and  just  I 
think)  which  is  likely  to  meet  the  approbation  of  the  Legisla- 
ture of  No.  Carolina.  It  has  always  been  my  opinion  since  I 
first  investigated  the  Great  dismal  Swamp  as  a  member  and  man- 
ager of  that  Company  that  the  most  advantageous  Cut  would 
be  found  to  be  through  Drummonds  pond  to  the  head  of  Pasque- 
tank  and  I  have  Surveys  and  Notes  which  prove  it  I  think,  in- 
contestably.  Mr.  Andrews's  conjectures,  with  respect  to  Locks, 
I  conceive  is  justly  founded;  for  if  the  bed  of  the  lake  is  above 

28 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


the  level  of  the  Water  of  Elizabeth  River  and  Pasquetank  the 
reflux  by  means  of  the  Canal  being  greater  than  the  influx  must 
undoubtedly  drain  the  Pond  and  render  it  useless  as  a  reservoir 
without  these  Locks;  but  the  places  at  which  it  may  be  proper 
to  establish  them  must  I  should  suppose  depend  upon  the  level 
and  suitableness  of  the  ground  to  receive  them  after  the  cut  is 
made  which  should  be  begun  at  the  extreme  ends  that  the 
water  may  run  of  [f ]  (and  if  with  any  velocity)  to  contribute 
to  the  Work. 

If  this  cut  is  effected,  the  obstructions  in  the  Roanoke  re- 
moved (which  will  most  assuredly  follow)  and  the  inland  Navi- 
gation of  the  Rivers  James  and  Potomack  compleated  according 
to  Law  it  will  open  channels  of  convenience  and  wealth  to  the 
Citizens  of  this  State  that  the  imagination  can  hardly  extend  to 
and  render  this  the  most  favoured  Country  in  the  Universe. 
These  measures  only  require  a  beginning  to  shew  the  practica- 
bility, ease  and  advantage  with  which  they  may  be  effected. 
Rappahanock  and  Shanondoah  (the  latter  through  a  long  ex- 
tent of  it)  will  follow  the  example  and  I  see  nothing  to  prevent 
the  two  branches  of  York  River  from  doing  the  same. 

The  consequence  in  the  article  of  draught  Cattle  alone,  and 
to  our  Roads  will  be  inconceivably  great.  The  latter  with  small 
amendments  will  always  be  in  good  order  when  the  present 
number  of  Carriages  are  no  longer  taring  them  to  pieces  in  the 
most  inclement  seasons  of  the  year;  and  the  ease  to,  and  saving 
in  the  former  will  be  felt  most  interestingly  by  the  farmer  and 
Planter  in  their  annual  operations. 

But  until  these  things  are  accomplished  and  even  admitting 
they  were  done,  do  you  not  think,  my  good  Sir,  that  the  credit, 
the  saving,  and  convenience  of  this  Country,  all  require  that  our 
great  roads  leading  from  one  public  place  to  another  should  be 

1785]  STATE  ROAD   WORK  335 

shortned,  straightned,  and  established  by  Law;  and  the  power 
in  the  County  Courts  to  alter  them  withdrawn  ? 

To  me  these  things  seem  indispensably  necessary,  and  it  is  my 
opinion  they  will  take  place  in  time  the  longer  therefore  they 
are  delayed  the  more  people  will  be  injured  by  the  Alterations 
when  they  happen.  It  is  equally  clear  to  me,  that  putting  the 
lowest  valuation27  upon  the  labour  of  the  people  who  work 
upon  the  roads  under  the  existing  Law  and  custom  of  the 
present  day  the  repairs  of  them  by  way  of  Contract  to  be  paid 
by  an  assessment  on  certain  districts  (until  the  period  shall  ar- 
rive when  turnpikes  may  with  propriety  be  established)  would 
be  infinitely  less  burthensome  to  the  Community  than  the  pres- 
ent mode.  In  this  case  too  the  Contractor  would  meet  with  no 
favor;  every  man  in  the  district  wd.  give  information  of  neg- 
lects; whereas  negligence  under  the  present  system  is  winked 
at  by  the  only  people  who  know  how,  or  can  inform  against  the 
Overseers;  for  strangers  had  rather  encounter  the  inconven- 
ience of  bad  roads  than  the  trouble  of  an  information  and  go 
away  prejudiced  against  the  Country  for  the  polity  of  it.  With 
great  esteem  and  respect  etc.  [v.s.l.] 


Mount  Vernon,  November  30, 1785. 
My  dear  Sir:  Receive  my  thanks  for  your  obliging  communi- 
cations of  the  nth  I  hear  with  much  pleasure  that  the  Assembly 
are  engaged,  seriously,  in  the  consideration  of  the  revised  Laws. 
A  short  and  simple  code,  in  my  opinion,  tho'  I  have  the  senti- 
ments of  some  of  the  Gentlemen  of  the  long  robe  against  me, 
would  be  productive  of  happy  consequences,  and  redound  to 
the  honor  of  this  or  any  Country  which  shall  adopt  such. 

27 The  word  "possible"  seems  to  have  been  crossed  off  at  this  point. 


I  hope  the  resolutions  which  were  published  for  the  con- 
sideration of  the  House,  respecting  the  reference  to  Congress 
for  the  regulation  of  a  Commercial  system  will  have  passed. 
The  proposition  in  my  opinion  is  so  self  evident  that  I  confess 
I  am  at  a  loss  to  discover  wherein  lyes  the  weight  of  the  objec- 
tion to  the  measure.  We  are  either  a  United  people,  or  we  are 
not.  If  the  former,  let  us,  in  all  matters  of  general  concern  act  as 
a  nation,  which  have  national  objects  to  promote,  and  a  national 
character  to  support.  If  we  are  not,  let  us  no  longer  act  a  farce 
by  pretending  to  it.  for  whilst  we  are  playing  a  dble.  game,  or 
playing  a  game  between  the  two  we  never  shall  be  consistent 
or  respectable;  but  may  be  the  dupes  of  some  powers  and,  most 
assuredly,  the  contempt  of  all.  In  any  case  it  behoves  us  to  pro- 
vide good  Military  Laws,  and  look  well  to  the  execution  of 
them,  but,  if  we  mean  by  our  conduct  that  the  States  shall  act 
independently  of  each  other  it  becomes  indispensably  neces- 
sary, for  therein  will  consist  our  strength  and  respectabity  in 
the  Union. 

It  is  much  to  be  wished  that  public  faith  may  be  held  invio- 
late. Painful  is  it  even  in  thought  that  attempts  should  be  made 
to  weaken  the  bands  of  it.  It  is  a  dangerous  experiment,  once 
slacken  the  reins  and  the  power  is  lost,  and  it  is  questionable 
with  me  whether  the  advocates  of  the  measure  foresee  all  the 
consequences  of  it.  It  is  an  old  adage  that  honesty  is  the  best 
policy;  this  applies  to  public  as  well  as  private  life,  to  States  as 
well  as  individuals.  I  hope  the  Port  and  assize  Bills  no  longer 
sleep,  but  are  awakened  to  a  happy  establishment.  The  first 
with  some  alterations,  would,  in  my  judgment  be  productive  of 
great  good  to  this  Country;  without  it,  the  Trade  thereof  I  con- 
ceive will  ever  labor  and  languish;  with  respect  to  the  Second 
if  it  institutes  a  speedier  Administration  of  Justice  it  is  equally 


It  gives  me  great  pleasure  to  hear  that  our  assembly  were  in 
a  way  of  adopting  a  mode  for  establishing  the  Cut  betwn.  Eliza- 
beth river  and  Pasquotank  which  was  likely  to  meet  the  appro- 
bation of  the  State  of  No.  Carolina.  It  appears  to  me  that  no 
Country  in  the  Universe  is  better  calculated  to  derive  benefits 
from  inland  Navigation  than  this  is,  and  certain  I  am,  that  the 
conveniences  to  the  Citizens  individually,  and  the  sources  of 
wealth  to  the  Country  generally,  which  will  be  opened  thereby 
will  be  found  to  exceed  the  most  sanguine  imagination;  the 
Mind  can  scarcely  take  in  at  one  view  all  the  benefits  which 
will  result  therefrom.  The  saving  in  draught  Cattle,  preserva- 
tion of  Roads  &ca.  &ca.  will  be  felt  most  interestingly.  This 
business  only  wants  a  beginning.  Rappahanock,  Shannondoah, 
Roanoke,  and  the  branches  of  York  River  will  soon  perceive 
the  advantages  which  water  transportation  (in  ways  hardly 
thought  of  at  first)  have  over  that  of  Land  and  will  extend 
Navigation  to  almost  every  mans  door. 

From  the  complexion  of  the  debates  in  the  Pensylvania  it 
should  seem  as  if  that  Legislature  intended  their  assent  to  the 
proposition  from  the  States  of  Virginia  and  Maryland  (respect- 
ing a  road  to  the  Yohiogany  should  be  conditional  of  permis- 
sion given  to  open  a  Communication  between  the  Chesapeak 
and  Delaware  by  way  of  the  rivers  Elk  and  Christeen,  which  I 
am  sure  will  never  be  obtained  if  the  Baltimore  interest  can  give 
it  effectual  opposition. 

The  Directors  of  the  Potomack  Company  have  sent  to  the 
Delegates  of  this  County  to  be  laid  before  the  Assembly  a  Peti- 
tion (which  sets  forth  the  reasons)  for  relief  in  the  depth  of  the 
Canals  which  it  may  be  found  necessary  to  open  at  the  great  and 
little  Falls  of  the  River.  As  public  ceconomy  and  private  inter- 
est equally  prompt  the  measure  and  no  possible  disadvantage 


that  we  can  see  will  attend  granting  the  prayer  of  it,  we  flatter 
ourselves  no  opposition  will  be  given  to  it. 

To  save  trouble  to  expidite  the  business,  and  to  secure  uni- 
formity without  delay,  or  an  intercourse  between  the  Assem- 
blies on  so  trivial  a  matter  we  have  taken  the  liberty  of  sending 
the  draught  of  a  Bill  to  Members  of  both  Assemblies  which 
if  approved  will  be  found  exactly  similar.  With  the  highest 

esteem  etc.28 


Mount  Vernon,  December  i,  1785. 

My  dear  Count:  Your  letter  of  the  2d.  of  June,  which  you  had 
the  goodness  to  write  to  me  at  the  moment  of  taking  leave 
of  the  venerable  Doctr.  Franklin,  now  lyes  before  me;  and  I 
read  the  renewed  assurances  of  your  friendship  with  sentiments 
of  gratitude  and  pleasure,  short  of  nothing  but  the  satisfaction 
I  should  feel  at  seeing  you,  and  the  recollection  of  the  hours,  on 
which,  toiling  together,  we  formed  our  friendship.  A  friend- 
ship which  will  continue,  I  hope,  as  long  as  we  shall  continue 
Actors  on  the  present  theatre. 

A  Man  in  the  vigor  of  life  could  not  have  borne  the  fatigues 
oi  a  passage  across  the  Atlantic  with  more  fortitude,  and  greater 
ease  than  Doctor  Franklin  did;  and  since,  instead  of  setting 
himself  down  in  the  lap  of  ease,  which  might  have  been  ex- 
pected from  a  person  of  his  advanced  age,  he  has  again  entered 
upon  the  bustling  scenes  of  public  life,  and  in  the  chair  of  State, 
is  endeavouring  to  reconcile  the  jarring  interests  of  the  Citizens 
of  Pennsylvania.  If  he  should  succeed,  fresh  laurels  will  crown 
his  brow;  but  it  is  to  be  feared  that  the  task  is  too  great  for 

28  From  a  photostat  o£  the  original  through  the  kindness  of  Judge  E.  A.  Armstrong, 
of  Princeton,  N.  J. 

1785]        POTOMAC  COMPANY  PETITION  339 

human  wisdom  to  accomplish.  I  have  not  yet  seen  the  good  old 
Gentleman,  but  have  had  an  intercourse  by  letters  with  him. 

Rumours  of  War  still  prevail,  between  the  Emperor  and  the 
Dutch;  and  seem,  if  News  Paper  Accounts  are  to  be  credited, 
to  be  near  at  hand.  If  this  event  should  take  place,  more  powers 
must  engage  in  it,  and  perhaps  a  general  flame  will  be  kindled 
'ere  the  first  is  extinguished.  America  may  think  herself  happy 
in  having  the  Atlantic  for  a  barrier,  otherways,  a  spark  might 
set  her  a  blazing.  At  present  we  are  peaceable;  and  our  Gov- 
ernments are  acquiring  a  better  tone.  Congress,  I  am  persuaded 
will  soon  be  vested  with  greater  powers.  The  Commercial  in- 
terest throughout  the  Union  are  exerting  themselves  to  obtain 
these,  and  I  have  no  doubt  will  effect  it.  We  shall  be  able  then, 
if  a  Commercial  treaty  is  not  entered  into  with  Great  Britain  to 
meet  her  on  the  restrictive  and  contracted  ground  she  has  taken ; 
and  interdict  her  Shipping,  and  trade,  in  the  same  manner  she 
has  done  those  of  these  States.  This,  and  this  only,  will  convince 
her  of  the  illiberallity  of  her  conduct  towards  us.  or,  that  her 
policy  has  been  too  refined,  and  over  strained,  even  for  the  ac- 
complishment of  her  own  purposes. 

Mrs.  Washington  is  thankful  for  your  constant  remembrance 
of  her,  and  joins  me  in  every  good  wish  for  you  and  Madame  de 
Rochambeau.  With  sentiments  of  the  warmest  attachment,  and 
greatest  respect  I  have  the  honor  etc.29 


Mount  Vernon,  December  3, 1785. 
Gentn :  As  President  of  the  Board  of  Directors  for  the  Potomac 
company,  I  have  the  honor  to  enclose  you  a  Petition  which  we 
pray  you  to  present  to  your  honorable  House;  and  to  use  your 

29  From  the  original  in  the  Rochambeau  Papers  in  the  Library  of  Congress. 


best  endeavours  to  have  the  prayer  of  it  enacted  into  a  Law. 
The  Petition  is  so  full,  and  the  request  of  it  so  reasonable,  that 
we  do  not  suppose  there  can  be  the  least  opposition  to  it,  other- 
wise than  by  delay;  because  the  enemies  of  it  (if  there  are  any) 
must  on  the  score  of  public  saving,  yield  assent  to  it. 

We  have  taken  the  liberty  to  accompany  the  Petition  with  the 
draft  of  a  Bill  to  be  enacted  into  a  Law.  A  Petition  and  Bill 
similar  to  those  have  been  sent  to  the  Maryland  Assembly. 
The  reasons  for  this  you  will  see  into  at  once;  they  are,  to  render 
it  unnecessary  for  the  two  Assemblies  to  correspond  on  so  triv- 
ial a  subject,  to  prevent  trouble  to  each,  to  prevent  delay,  and 
that  both  Acts  may  be  exactly  similar.30  I  have  the  honor,  etc.31 


Mount  Vernon,  December  3,  1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  The  Directors  of  the  Potomac  Corny,  upon  a  strict 
examination  of  the  ground  at  the  Great  Falls  of  the  river,  and 
their  ideas  of  that  at  the  little  Falls,  find  it  necessary  to  apply 
to  the  Assemblies  of  the  two  States,  to  be  relieved  from  that 
depth  of  canal  which  the  late  Acts  for  improving  and  extend- 
ing the  navigation  of  the  river  require. 

The  reasons  are  set  forth  at  large  in  the  Petition  which,  as 
President  of  the  Board  of  Directors  I  now  have  the  honor  to 
transmit  to  Mr.  Chase  as  a  delegate,  and  member  of  the  com- 
pany; a  similar  one  having  gone  to  the  Assembly  of  Virginia. 
But  in  a  word,  from  our  view  of  the  matter,  it  is  sufficient  to 
inform  you  that  to  dig  four  feet  at  these  places  will  add  greatly 
to  the  expence,  without  deriving  the  smallest  advantage:  we 
have  therefore  prayed  for  two  feet  depth,  instead  of  four;  and 

30 Practically  the  same  letter  was  sent  to  Samuel  Chase,  of  the  Maryland  Legislature. 
A  copy  of  this  is  in  the  "  Letter  Book  "  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
31  From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  RENTAL  MATTERS  341 

apprehending  no  other  opposition  but  what  may  proceed  from 
delay,  for  friends  and  foes  (if  there  are  any  of  the  latter)  to  the 
Undertaking,  ought  to  support  the  Bill  upon  the  principle  of 
ceconomy,  is  the  reason  of  my  giving  you  the  trouble  of  this 
Letter,  praying  your  assistance  in  facilitating  the  passage  of 
the  Bill.32  I  have  the  honor,  etc.33 


Mount  Vernon,  December  4, 1785. 

Sir:  Your  letters  of  the  15th.  and  26th.  of  last  month,  are 
both  at  hand.  With  respect  to  the  latter,  I  agree  that  Danl. 
Harrel  may  have  the  Lott  No.  2  on  the  terms  mentioned  there- 
in, and  you  may  fill  up  Leases  accordingly. 

In  answer  to  the  first  letter,  rather  than  involve  myself  in 
uncertain  law  suits,  but  certain  expence  and  perplexity,  I  would 
allow  for  paper  payments  of  rent,  the  same  as  specie;  but  as 
you  know  what  has  been  the  practice  and  the  consequence 
thereof  in  your  own  case  as  Collector  for  Colo.  Fairfax,  and  in 
that  of  others  under  similar  circumstances,  I  should  conceive 
that  you  could  determine  the  point,  of  conduct  proper  to  be 
pursued  better  than  I,  who  have  been  entirely  out  of  the  way 
of  knowing  what  the  Law,  custom,  or  judicial  proceedings  in 
the  Courts  have  decided.  However,  as  I  have  already  observed, 
rather  than  go  into  a  litigation  of  the  matter  (unless  there  is 
every  reason  to  expect  a  decision  in  my  favor)  I  wou'd  make 
the  same  allowance  for  paper,  however  unjustly  and  rascally 
it  has  been  imposed,  as  I  would  for  specie,  taking  care  to  shew 
no  indulgence  hereafter  to  those  who  had  made  them. 

32  Practically  the  same  letter  was  sent  to  William  Ramsay.  A  copy  of  this  is  in  the 
"Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

83 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papas. 


Receipts  for  rents,  from  my  brother  will  be  sufficient  for  the 
Tenants;  but  it  will  be  necessary  in  your  settlemt.  with  them, 
to  take  an  account  of  all  these  payments,  that  I  may  be  able  to 
settle  with  his  Estate.  This  is  indispensably  necessary,  as,  from 
what  I  can  learn,  he  has  been  very  inattentive  himself  in  mak- 
ing proper  entries  of  the  sums  paid  him:  the  date  of  each  re- 
ceipt is  as  essential  as  the  name  of  the  person  is  to  whom  given. 
I  am,  etc.34 


Mount  Vernon,  December  5, 1785. 

Sir:  I  had  the  honor  to  be  favor'd  with  your  letter  by  Mr. 
Houdon,  and  thank  you  for  your  kind  recollection  of,  and  for 
the  favorable  sentiments  you  have  expressed  for  me. 

The  moments  I  spent  with  the  army  of  France  in  this  Coun- 
try, are  amongst  the  most  pleasing  of  my  life,  and  I  shall  ever 
remember  with  grateful  sensibility,  the  polite  attentions  of  all 
the  officers  who  composed  it,  and  of  none  more  than  yours. 

I  pray  you  to  be  persuaded  of  the  interest  I  take  in  your  happi- 
ness; and  the  pleasure  I  feel  in  assuring  you  of  the  esteem  and 
regard  with  which,  I  have  the  honor,  etc.34 


Mount  Vernon,  December  5, 1785. 

Sir:  The  letter  which  you  did  me  the  honor  to  write  to  me 
on  the  10th.  of  October,  only  came  to  hand  the  28th.  of  last 

My  particular  acknowledgments  are  due  to  you  for  your 
recollection  of,  and  attention  to  me;  and  I  pray  you  to  be  as- 
sured of  the  pleasure  I  felt  at  hearing  that  the  place  lately  filled 

34 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
35  Charles  Francois  Louis  Joseph  Cesar,  Comte  de  Damas. 

1785]  A  DELUSION  343 

by  Mr.  de  Marbois,  near  the  Sovereignty  of  these  States,  was 
so  happily  supplied.  On  this  instance  of  his  most  Christian 
Majesty's  attention  to  your  merits,  I  offer  you  my  sincere  con- 

For  the  favourable  sentimts.  entertained  of  me  in  France 
and  particularly  at  the  Court  all  my  gratitude  is  due;  but  to 
none  in  a  higher  degree  than  to  die  Chevalier  de  la  Luzerne; 
for  whom  I  have  the  highest  esteem  and  regard.  For  your 
obliging  offers  of  Service  here,  or  in  France,  I  sincerely  thank 
you  and  at  the  sametime  I  give  you  the  trouble  of  forwarding 
a  few  letters  by  the  Packet,  beg  you  to  believe  that  with  much 
truth  I  have  the  honor  etc.30 


Mount  Vernon,  December  5, 1785. 
Sir:  Having,  a  few  days  ago  only,  received  your  letter  of  the 
13th.  of  August  from  Charleston,  enclosing  the  duplicate  of 
one  from  a  Mr.  Edmund  Richards  of  Plymouth  Dock,  dated 
the  first  of  Feby.  last;  I  delay  not  a  Post  to  inform  you,  as  I 
have  already  done  the  said  Edmd.  Richards,  that  he  is  under 
a  delusion  which  has  not  a  single  reality  for  a  support,  that  I 
am  astonished  at  his  information,  and  which  he  had  been  at  the 
trouble  of  enquiring  a  little  more  minutely  into  matters,  before 
he  had  determined  to  make  such  a  pointed  application  to  me, 
or  to  have  communicated  his  demands  of  me  to  others,  for  an 
Estate;  First,  because  such  an  Estate  as  he  speaks  of  was  never 
left  in  trust  to  me;  Secondly,  because  I  never  had  the  least  ac- 
quaintance with  his  Uncle  Richard  Richards,  or  ever  knew 
that  there  was  such  a  man  in  existence;  Thirdly,  because  I  have 
just  as  much,  and  no  more  knowledge  of  Lawyer  Haines  and 

36  From  the  original  in  the  Paris  Archives,  Aff.  Estrang.,  Items,  et  Docs.,  E.  U.,  vol.  6. 


Lawyer  Baitain,  than  I  have  of  Richd.  Richards;  And  fourthly, 
because  I  never  heard  of  such  an  Estate  as  he  claims,  or  the  most 
trifling  circumstance  concerning  it. 

Of  all  these  things  Sir,  you  may,  as  I  shall  never  write  to 
Edmd.  Richards  again,  give  him  the  clearest  and  most  unequiv- 
ocal assurances;  and  add,  that  the  most  incontestible  proofs  of 
wch.  he,  or  you  in  his  behalf,  may  find,  if  either  are  disposed  to 
examine  further  into  the  matter.  I  am,  etc.37 


Mount  Vernon,  December  5, 1785. 

Sir:  I  am  really  ashamed  to  have  been  so  long  in  acknowl- 
edging the  receipt  of  your  letter  of  the  3d.  of  August  last  year; 
but  circumstances  which  would  be  more  tedious  in  the  recital, 
than  important  when  told,  have  been  the  cause  of  it. 

I  have  now  the  honor  of  enclosing  you  the  receipt  of  the 
Treasurer  of  the  Society  of  the  Cincinnati  of  this  State,  for  your 
Bill  on  Colo.  Wadsworth;  and  wish  it  was  in  my  power  to  have 
accompanied  it  with  a  Diploma:  but  it  has  so  happened,  that 
except  a  few  which  were  struck  at  Philadelphia  for  the  Mem- 
bers of  that  State  at  their  own  expence,  none  have  yet  been 
presented  to  me  by  the  Secretary,  for  signing.  I  have  the  honor, 


Mount  Vernon,  December  5, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  Altho'  I  am  so  great  a  delinquent  in  the  epistolary 
way,  I  will  not  again  tread  over  the  usual  ground  for  an  excuse, 
but  rather  silently  throw  myself  upon  your  philanthropy  to 
obtain  one. 

From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  AFFAIR  AT  BARREN  HILL  345 

In  reading  the  Memoir  which  passed  thro'  my  hands  to  you 
(for  I  have  no  copy  of  it)  I  do  not  recollect  that  I  was  struck 
with  any  exagerations  or  improprieties  in  it;  nor  is  it  in  my 
power  to  give  you  a  precise  detail  of  the  facts  about  which  you 
enquire,  without  unpacking  my  papers,  and  entering  upon  a 
voluminous  research  therefor;  which  might  not  after  all  eluci- 
date the  points.  Whether  Genl.  Howe  commanded  in  person 
at  the  intended  surprize  and  attack  of  the  Marqs.  de  la  Fayette 
at  Barren  Hill,  I  am  unable  positively  to  say :  I  would  suppose 
however  that  he  did,  first,  because  the  narrative  says  so,  2dly  be- 
cause he  did  not  relinquish  the  command  until  within  a  few 
days  of  the  evacuation  of  Philada.,  and  3dly.,  because  the  Brit- 
ish army  came  out  in  full  force.  That  the  column  on  the  right 
commanded  by  Genl.  Grant  was  strong,  can  admit  of  no 
doubt;  (and  report  to  the  best  of  my  recollection  made  the 
number  7000)  because  it  was  design'd  to  turn  the  Marquis's  left 
flank,  get  into  his  rear,  and  cut  off  his  retreat  by  the  nearest  and 
most  direct  roads;  whilst  he  was  to  have  been  attacked  in  front, 
and  on  his  right  (which  was  next  the  Schuylkill)  by  the  Com- 
mander in  chief,  and  light  infantry;  by  the  first  in  front,  by  the 
other  on  the  flank. 

The  French  troops  which  were  landed  from  on  board  the 
flat,  formed  a  junction  with  the  American  Troops  before,  and 
were  all  under  the  command  of  the  Marquis  'till  my  arrival. 
The  position  at  Williamsburgh  was  taken  I  believe  with  a  view 
to  form  the  junction,  being  favorable  to  it;  the  defile  between 
the  College  Creek  which  empties  into  James  river  and  Queen's 
Creek  which  empties  into  York  river,  being  very  narrow,  and 
behind  the  former  of  which  the  French  landed  in  perfect 

My  excursions  up  this  river  (for  I  have  made  several)  have 
afforded  me  much  satisfaction,  as  we  find  the  Undertaking  to 


extend  and  improve  the  navigation  of  it,  is  not  only  practicable; 
but  that  the  difficulties  which  were  expected  to  be  met  with, 
rather  decrease  than  multiply  upon  us. 

I  come  now,  My  good  Doctor,  to  acknowledge  in  a  particular 
manner  the  receipt  of  your  obliging  favor  of  the  7th.  Ulto.,  and 
to  thank  you  for  your  kind  and  valuable  present  of  Fish  which 
is  very  fine  and  had  a  more  successful  passage  than  the  last,  no 
Accot.  of  which  having  ever  yet  been  received.  I  have  too  Mrs. 
Washington's  particular  thanks  to  offer  you  for  the  flower 
roots  and  seeds,  which  she  will  preserve  in  the  manner  directed. 
I  have  put  into  a  box  with  earth,  shrubs  of  the  redwood  (or 
redbud)  and  Fringe  tree,  which  General  Lincoln  promised  his 
Vessel  should  heave  to  and  take  for  you  as  she  passed  by.  I  was 
going  to  send  other  flowering  shrubs,  but  upon  mentioning  the 
names  of  them,  the  Genl.  and  Colo.  Henley  said  your  Country 
already  abounded  with  them.  I  forgot  however,  to  ask  them  if 
you  have  the  Magnolio;  if  you  have  not,  I  can  send  some  by 
another  opportunity. 

I  hope  this  Letter  will  find  you  quite  relieved  from  the  fever- 
ish complaint  you  had  when  you  wrote  last,  and  Mrs.  Gordon 
in  perfect  health,  to  whom  and  yourself  Mrs.  Washington  and 
the  family  (who  are  all  well)  join  me  in  every  good  wish. 
Fanny  Bassett  and  my  nephew  Geo:  A.  Washington  have  full- 
filled  an  engagement  of  long  standing,  and  are  now  one  bone, 
and  one  flesh.  With  great  esteem,  etc.38 


Mount  Vernon,  December  7, 1785. 
Sir:  Your  letter  of  the  26th.  ulto:  came  to  my  hands  by  the 
last  Post;  and  the  object  of  this  shall  be  confined  to  a  single 

88 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


point,  taking  another  opportunity  of  writing  to  you  more 

The  meaning  of  my  last  Letter  to  you  was  not  well  expressed, 
if  it  was  understood  that  actions  of  Trespass  were  to  be  brought, 
before  the  issue  of  the  ejectments  was  known.  I  had  no  idea  of 
this,  because  if  my  opponents  should  succeed  in  the  latter, 
there  would  be  no  ground  for  the  former;  and  I  should  incur 
a  certain  expence  without  a  chance  of  profit:  from  the  state- 
ment of  the  cases  which  you  have  mentioned,  I  now  leave  it 
altogether  discretionary  in  you,  whether  to  bring  them  after- 
wards or  not.  I  never  should  have  thought  of  this  mode  of 
punishment,  had  I  not  viewed  the  Defendants  as  wilful  and 
obstinate  sinners;  presevering  after  timely  and  repeated  admo- 
nition, in  a  design  to  injure  me,  but  I  am  not  all  tenaceous  of 
this  matter  and  take  the  chance  of  this  letter's  going  by  way 
of  Baltimore,  and  another  by  the  way  of  Philada.,  to  request  that 
these  Actions  may  be  at  least  delayed,  if  not  altogether  laid 
aside,  according  to  circumstances.39  I  am,  etc.40 


Mount  Vernon,  December  10, 1785. 
Sir:  Having  delayed  until  this  time  to  acknowledge  the  re- 
ceipt of  your  favor  of  the  4th.  of  May  from  New  York,  is  to  be 
ascribed  more  to  the  expectation  I  have  been  under  of  having 
the  pleasure  of  seeing  you  in  this  State  and  at  this  house,  than 
to  any  other  cause:  and  I  take  the  present  occasion  of  assuring 
you  that  if  business  or  inclination  should  bring  you  to  the 

39  This  letter  was  forwarded  to  Tench  Tilghman  with  a  brief  note  (December  6), 
asking  him  to  forward  it  "  as  it  is  of  some  consequence  to  me  that  the  enclosed  should 
reach  Mr.  Smith  before  he  commences  his  tour  of  the  Western  Counties  in  Pennsyl- 
vania." A  copy  of  this  is  in  the  Toner  Transcripts  in  the  Library  of  Congress. 

^From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

41  Of  the  British  Royal  Fuzileers. 


southward,  I  should  be  happy  in  the  opportunity  of  testifying 
my  respect  for  the  introduction  of  Sir  Edward  Newenham,  and 
of  offering  you  the  civilities  which  are  due  to  a  gentleman  of 
your  merit. 

By  mistake  a  packet  which  I  herewith  send  was  forwarded 
to  me  by  a  Mr.  McKuinan,42  to  whose  care  with  another  for 
myself,  it  was  comitted  by  Sir  Edward.43  I  hope  it  will  reach 
you  safe,  and  that  the  delay  occasioned  by  the  circuitous  rout  it 
has  taken  will  be  attended  with  no  inconvenience.  I  have  the 
honor,  etc.44 


Mount  Vernon,  December  10, 1785. 

Dear  Sir:  Since  writing  to  you  by  the  last  Post  I  have  finished 
the  measurement  of  my  Corn,  and  find  that  I  shall  not  make 
half  enough  to  Serve  me.  Permit  me  to  request  the  favor  of  you 
therefore  to  enquire  upon  what  terms  any  of  the  Delegates  from 
the  Eastern  Shore  would  contract  with  you  in  my  behalf  for 
800  Bushs.  of  clean  and  good  Oats,  to  be  delivered  at  my  land- 
ing as  soon  after  Christmas  as  may  be.  If  you  can  engage  the 
Oats  at  a  price  not  exceeding  three  shillings  pr  Bushel,  I  would 
then  pray  you  to  close  a  bargain  without  the  delay  of  advising 
me,  and  reduce  it  to  writing  with  a  penalty  for  Non-perform- 
ance on  either  side;  but,  if  they  are  not  to  be  had  at  this  price  to 
fix  the  lowest  terms  on  wch.  they  may  be  had  upon  my  saying 
yea  by  return  of  the  Post  after  they  are  communicated  to  me. 

The  above  are  for  Horses.  I  am  under  as  pressing  a  necessity 
to  provide  for  my  People,  all  the  Corn  I  have  made  not  being 
more  than  sufficient  to  support  my  Plantations.  My  house  peo- 

42 Charles  McKieinan  (McKuinan). 

43 On  December  10  Washington  wrote  McKieinan  a  brief  acknowledgment.  A  copy 
of  this  letter  is  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
44 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  SHEET  COPPER  349 

pie  are  without,  and  none  in  these  parts  to  be  had.  If  there  [fore] 
the  Plantations  below45  (in  New  Kent  and  King  William)  have 
any  to  spare  I  should  be  glad  to  get  two  hundred  Barrels  for 
which  I  will  allow  the  same  they  sell  at  to  others,  or  the  same 
price  that  Corn  bears  on  that  River.46  This  would  be  doubly 
convenient  to  me,  for  to  be  plain  my  Coffers  are  not  overflowing 
with  money.  You  cannot  too  soon  give  me  a  definitive  answer 
on  this  point,  Nor  indeed  with  respect  to  the  Oats,  as  I  must  not 
trust  to  the  Chapter  of  Accidents  for  a  supply. 
With  great  esteem  etc.  [hd.c.] 


Mount  Vernon,  December  n,  1785. 

Dear  Sir:  I  have  received  your  favor  of  the  29th.  Ulto.  and 
thank  you  for  your  repeated  offer  of  Services  in  Philadelphia. 
By  Major  Fairlie47 1  send  you  Six  pounds  Pensylvania  Curry, 
and  would  thank  you  to  pay  Mr.  Gary  Printer  for  his  Paper,  and 
to  pay  Oswald48  for  this.  I  know  not  upon  what  footing  he 
sends  them,  by  no  order  of  mine  do  they  come,  and  it  is  only 
now  and  then,  I  get  one.  yet  I  do  not  want  to  lay  under  any 
obligation  to  him.  Claypoole  and  Dunlaps  Papers  now  come 
regularly  and  I  could  wish  they  were  also  paid. 

For  what  can  sheet  copper  be  bought  in  Phila.  at  this  time  ? 
I  believe  I  shall  have  occasion  to  add  to  the  quantity  which  was 
sent  me  from  thence  last  year,  to  complete  my  buildings. 

Mrs.  join  me  in  every  good  wish  for  you,  Mrs.  Biddle  and 
family,  with  great  esteem  I  am  etc.  [h.s.p.] 

4oThe  "Letter  Book"  has  "o£  Mr.  Custis." 
46  The  Pamunky. 
47Maj.  James  Fairlie. 

48Eleazer  Oswald.  He  was  publisher  of  The  Independent  Gazetteer,  of  Phila- 
delphia, Pa. 



Mount  Vernon,  December  11,  1785. 

My  dear  Sir:  Majr.  Farlie49  gave  me  the  pleasure  of  receiving 
your  letter  of  the  22cl.  Instt.,  and  thereby  knowing  that  you, 
Mrs.  Knox  and  the  family  were  all  well. 

It  has  always  been  my  opinion  you  know,  that  our  Affairs 
with  respect  to  the  Indians  would  never  be  in  a  good  train 
whilst  the  British  Garrisons  remained  on  the  American  side  of 
the  territorial  line,  and  that  these  Posts  would  not  be  evacuated 
by  them,  as  long  as  any  pretext  could  be  found  to  with-hold 

They  know  the  importance  of  these  Posts  too  well  to  give 
them  up  soon,  or  quietly,  their  trade  with  the  Indians  in  a 
great  measure  depend  upon  the  possession  of  them,  knowing 
full  well  that  all  the  assertions  of  our  Commrs.  with  respect  to 
the  Articles  of  Peace,  and  their  obligation  to  surrender  them,  is 
no  more  than  chaff  before  the  wind  when  opposed  by  the 
scale  of  possession. 

I  am  sorry  the  State  Societies  should  hesitate  to  comply  with 
the  recommendation  of  the  General  Meeting  of  the  Cincin- 
nati, holden  at  Phila.  in  1784.  I  then  thought,  and  have  no 
cause  Since  to  change  my  opinion,  that  nothing  short  of  what 
was  then  done  would  appease  the  clamours  which  were  raised 
against  this  Institution.  Some  late  attacks  have  been  made 
upon  it;  amongst  which  a  Pamphlet  written  by  the  Count  de 
I  Mirabeau,  a  French  Gentleman,  has  just  made  its  appearance. 
It  is  come  to  my  hands  translated  into  English,  but  I  have  not 
had  time  yet  to  read  it. 

I  am  sorry  you  have  undergone  any  chagreen  on  acct.  of  the 
lime  Stone.  I  have  got  through  my  Summers  work  without 



any  disappointment  therefrom;  having  had  it  in  my  power  at 
all  times,  when  wanted,  to  buy  Shells,  nor  would  I  wish  to 
have  any  sent  me  now,  unless  by  contract  not  to  exceed  One 
shilling  and  three  pence  at  the  ships  side  at  Alexandria,  or  oppo- 
site to  my  House;  and  this  I  do  not  expect,  as  Stone  lime  is 
oftener  higher  at  the  former  place. 

It  is  unnecessary  to  assure  you  of  the  pleasure  I  should  feel  at 
seeing  you  at  this  place,  whenever  business  or  inclination  may 
bring  you  to  this  State.  Every  good  wish,  in  which  Mrs.  Wash- 
ington joins  me,  is  offered  to  you,  Mrs.  Knox  and  the  Children, 
with  every  sentiment  of  friendship  and  regard,  I  am  etc. 



Mount  Vernon,  December  n,  1785. 

Dear  Sir:  I  have  been  favoured  with  your  letter  of  the  25th. 
of  November  by  Major  Farlie. 

Sincerely  do  I  wish  that  the  several  State  Societies  had,  or 
would,  adopt  the  alterations  that  were  recommended  by  the 
General  meeting  in  May  1784.  I  then  thought,  and  have  had 
no  cause  since  to  change  my  opinion,  that  if  the  Society  of  the 
Cincinnati  mean  to  live  in  peace  with  the  rest  of  their  fellow 
Citizens,  they  must  subscribe  to  the  Alterations  which  were  at 
that  time  adopted. 

That  the  jealousies  of,  and  prejudices  against  this  Society 
were  carried  to  an  unwarrantable  length,  I  will  readily  grant, 
and  that  less  than  was  done,  ought  to  have  removed  the  fears 
which  had  been  imbibed,  I  am  as  clear  in,  as  I  am  that  it  would 
not  have  done  it;  but  it  is  a  matter  of  little  moment  whether  the 
alarm  which  siezed  the  public  mind  was  the  result  of  foresight, 
envy  and  jealousy,  or  a  disordered  imagination;  the  effect  of 


perseverance  would  have  been  the  same:  wherein  there  would 
I  have  been  found  an  equivalent  for  the  seperation  of  Interests, 
which  (from  my  best  information,  not  from  one  State  only 
but  many)  would  inevitably  have  taken  place  ? 

The  fears  of  the  people  are  not  yet  removed,  they  only  sleep, 
and  a  very  little  matter  will  set  them  afloat  again.  Had  it  not 
been  for  the  predicament  we  stood  in  with  respect  to  the  for- 
eign Officers,  and  the  charitable  part  of  the  Institution  I  should, 
on  that  occasion,  as  far  as  my  voice  would  have  gone  have  en- 
deavoured to  convince  the  narrow  minded  part  of  our  Coun- 
trymen that  the  Amor  Pate,  was  much  stronger  in  our  breasts 
than  theirs,  and  that  our  conduct  through  the  whole  of  the  bus- 
iness was  actuated  by  nobler  and  more  generous  sentiments 
than  were  apprehended,  by  abolishing  the  Society  at  once,  with 
a  declaration  of  die  causes,  and  the  purity  of  its  intention.  But 
the  latter  may  be  interesting  to  many,  and  the  former,  is  an 
inseperable  bar  to  such  a  step. 

I  am  sincerely  concerned  to  find  by  your  letter  that  the 
Baron60  is  again  in  straightened  circumstances.  I  am  much 
disinclined  to  ask  favors  of  Congress,  but  if  I  knew  what  the 
objects  of  his  wishes  are  I  should  have  much  pleasure  in  ren- 
dering him  any  services  in  my  power  with  such  members  of 
that  body  as  I  now  and  then  corrispond  with.  I  had  flattered 
myself,  from  what  was  told  me  some  time  ago,  that  Congress 
had  made  a  final  settlement  with  the  Baron  much  to  his 

My  Compliments  and  best  wishes,  in  which  Mrs.  Washing- 
ton joins  me,  are  presented  to  Mrs.  Hamilton.  I  am  etc. 

PS.  When  you  see  Genl.  Schuyler  and  family  I  pray  you  to 
offer  my  best  respects  to  them.51 

60  Baron  Steuben. 

"From  the  original  in  the  Hamilton  Papers  in  the  Library  of  Congress. 

1785]  TENANTS  AND  RENTS  353 


Mount  Vernon,  December  16, 1785. 

Sir:  Since  I  wrote  you  last  I  have  received  your  letter  of  the 
28th.  of  Novr.  Although  you  could  not  make  out  an  exact 
statement  of  the  Accts.,  as  they  stand  between  the  Tenants  and 
me,  I  wish  you  had  returned  me  a  list  of  them,  and  the  Lots  on 
which  they  live,  with  the  Rent  each  man  pays. 

I  see  no  advantage  that  is  to  be  derived  now,  from  my  being 
on  the  Tenemants.  As  you  have  power,  and  your  judgment 
must  direct,  your  enquiries  may  be  extended  as  far  as  mine 
could,  was  I  on  the  spot.  Supposing  this  to  be  the  case,  what 
could  I  do,  more  than  to  see,  in  the  first  place,  to  whom  Lot  No. 
1  (and  so  on  with  all  the  rest)  was  originally  granted;  in  whose 
possession  it  now  is;  and  what  transferances  have  taken  place. 
What  rents  the  lot  has  credit  for  in  the  acct.  I  sent  you  (which 
is  the  best  that  could  be  made  out?)  and  what  receipts  can  be 
produced,  in  case  of  a  difference  between  my  accts.  and  the 
Tenants,  in  proof  of  his  having  paid  more  than  he  stands  cred- 
ited for.  What,  more  than  this,  I  say,  could  I  do  were  I  on  the 
Land  ?  And  is  not  all  this  in  your  Power  ?  The  Leases  which 
I  gave  you  (for  this  purpose)  testifies  to  the  first.  The  Tentent 
[sic]  on  the  land  solves  the  second,  and  the  information  of 
themselves,  compared,  and  corroborated  by  the  testimony  of  the 
neighbourhood,  if  necessary,  is  the  only  means  I  know,  of  com- 
ing at  the  truth  of  the  third  matter,  that  is,  the  transferences. 
With  respect  to  the  Rents  which  are  due  on  any  lot,  my  Acct. 
compared  with  the  Tenants  receipts,  is  the  only  mode  by  which 
this  can  be  ascertained.  I  readily  grant  that,  my  business  with 
respect  to  these  people  have  been  most  shamefully  neglected  but 
there  is  no  help  for  that  now,  to  recover  it  out  of  the  State  of 
disorder  and  confusion  into  which  it  has  run,  and  to  place  it  on 
as  just  a  footing  both  for  Landlord  and  tenant  as  the  nature 


of  the  case  will  admit  of,  is  all  that  remains  to  be  done;  and 
some  of  the  letters  which  I  have  already  written  to  you  on  this 
subject,  and  to  which  I  now  refer,  gives  you  my  ideas  fully  on 
the  Subject,  and  wch.  in  one  word  are  these,  to  deal  justly,  hon- 
ourably, and  even  generously  by  them;  But  where  it  shall  ap- 
pear that  the  Tenants  have  disregarded  every  Covenant  in  the 
leases,  which  were  intended  to  secure  a  mutual  benefit  to  my- 
self; and  their  sole  aim  has  been  to  make  a  Market  of  the  Land 
for  their  own  private  emolument.  Or  where  the  tenant  in  pos- 
session has  taken  advantage  of  the  times,  and  paid  their  rents 
in  Paper  money  when  it  was  of  no  value.  In  either  of  these 
cases,  I  should  have  no  scruple  to  set  the  Leases  aside,  if  they 
are  clearly,  and  legally  forfeited;  provided,  the  Lots  can  be  let 
to  a  better  advantage  than  on  the  present  terms,  of  the  Leases. 
And  all  these  things  must  be  submitted  to  your  own  Judgment, 
after  the  fullest  information  of  the  circumstances,  is  obtained. 

If  the  Tenants  have  paid  money  to  any  other  than  Lund 
Washington  or  myself,  I  should  have  an  acct.  of  it;  and  when 
it  was  done;  that  I  may  look  for  it  in  some  quarter,  but  where 
there  is  no  receipt,  nor  no  credit  in  my  acct.,  I  shall  pay  no  re- 
gard to  bear  ascertions.  I  may  quit  scores  at  once  if  these  are 
to  be  considered  as  discharges.  With  respect  to  their  being  two 
tenants  on  a  Lot,  unless  they  have  something  to  shew,  which 
authorizes  it,  the  Lease  itself  must  be  your  guide  and  director, 
without  application  to  me.  It  is  evidence  of  the  agreement  be- 
tween the  Landlord  and  tenant,  and  must  be  resorted  to  every 
year,  to  see  that  the  terms  are  fulfilled  on  the  part  of  the  latter; 
for  it  may  be  laid  down  as  a  certainty  that  there  is  no  obligation 
on  the  former  that  will  not  be  exacted. 

Lund  Washington's  going  upon  the  land  could  answer  no 
purpose;  he  knows  no  more  how  matters  stand  than  I  do,  and 
much  less  I  believe  than  yourself,  or  the  business  would  not  be 
in  the  confusion  it  is  at  present. 

1785]  TENANT  MATTERS  355 

It  is  essentially  necessary  that  yr.  collection  should  be  as  large 
as  possible,  because,  independant  of  other  considerations,  I  have 
not  made  half  bread  Corn  enough  this  year  to  serve  my  People 
and  stock;  and  shall  have  to  purchase  it  at  a  high  price,  in  ad- 
dition to  my  other  heavy  and  numerous  expenditures  notwith- 
standing this,  it  is  my  wish  to  push  matters  to  the  last  extremty 
in  order  to  obtain  all  the  rents  which  may  be  due,  unless  there 
is,  in  your  opinion,  good  cause  for  it.  in  short,  circumstances 
and  your  own  discretion  must  direct  you. 

With  respect  to  the  vacant  Lots  I  have  in  the  Tracts  com- 
mitted to  your  Inspection  and  management;  I  can  give  but 
one  general  direction  for  them  all.  And  that  is  this:  let  the 
notice  that  they  are  to  be  let,  be  as  long  before  hand,  and  as 
extensive  as  you  can  conveniently  give  of  the  day  you  will  let 
them,  (to  the  highest  bidder  if  you  shall  think  it  best),  and 
then  let  them  for  as  much  as  you  can  obtain,  for  a  term  not 
exceeding  14  years;  ten  years  I  should  prefer.  If  the  Season  is 
now  too  far  advanced,  (and  it  is  highly  probable  that  few  Ten- 
ants have  places  to  look  for  at  this  late  Season  of  the  year),  per- 
haps it  might  be  better  to  rent  them  upon  any  terms  for  the 
coming  year,  and  endeavor  in  time  next  year,  to  render  them 
as  advantageous  to  me  as  the  Land  will  procure. 

I  think  it  would  be  best  to  divide  the  lot  on  Chattins  run,  oc- 
cupied by  John  Thompson,  and  to  put  it  on  the  footing  wch. 
you  have  suggested.  It  also  appears  that  the  other  Lots  on  the 
same  tract,  had  also  better  be  divided;  they  will  rent  much 
higher  for  it,  as  there  are  so  many  more  people  of  small  force 
wanting  land  than  great,  and  when  they  are  divided,  rent  them 
for  as  much  as  you  can  get.  An  Advertisement  of  these  vacant 
Lots  in  the  Alexa.  Paper,  At  Dumfries,  Falmouth,  and  Port 
Tobacco  would,  I  am  persuaded,  (if  the  Season  is  not  too  far 
advanced)  bring  you  tenants  in  abundance,  for  many  have 


applied  to  me,  and  I  told  them,  as  I  really  thought,  that  I  had 
not  an  Acre  of  Land  in  those  parts  untenanted. 

It  may  be  well  to  attend  a  little  closely  to  the  line  between 
some  person,  or  persons  of  the  name  of  Rector,  and  me  on 
Chattins  run.  It  is  now,  some  years  ago,  since  I  was  told, his  Mill 
was  on  my  Land;  and  that  he  was  making  some  other  encroach- 
ments; and  was  endeavouring  to  support  a  claim  to  it,  merely 
because  it  was  convenient  for,  and  his  interest  to  possess  it. 

Inclosed  you  have  a  memo,  of  the  agreement  between  us,  re- 
specting the  Wheat.  I  made  a  bad  bargain  of  it.  not  more  than 
5/6  has  been  given  at  Alexandria  for  this  Article,  the  market 
there  now  dull,  and  the  price  expected  to  fall.  What  Wheat  of 
yours  that  has  come  to  my  Mill,  the  Miller  says  is  good  and  I 
hope  your  orders  will  be  fulfilled  with  respect  to  the  good 
cleaning  of  that  which  is  to  come.  It  is  all  I  can  expect  for  the 
high  price  given.  I  am  etc. 

PS.  Williams  not  coming  down,  the  Counter  part  of  his 
Lease  is  not  signed  by  him.  I  have  directed  that  it  shall  be  de- 
livered to  you.  This  letter  is  written  in  so  great  a  hurry,  that  I 
wish  it  may  be  understood.  If  you  can  get  at  my  meaning  it  is 
all  I  wish.  The  opportunity  for  sending  it  being  sudden  and 


December  17, 1785. 
Gentlemen:  That  I  may  be  perspicuous  and  avoid  miscon- 
ception, the  proposition53  which  I  wish  to  lay  before  you  is 
committed  to  writing;  and  is  as  follows: 

52 From  a  photostat  of  the  original  kindly  furnished  by  Lloyd  W.  Smith,  of  New 
York  City. 

63 At  the  meeting  of  the  trustees  (December  17)  which  accepted  this  offer,  those 
present  were:  Dr.  William  Brown,  president;  Benjamin  Dulany,  William  Hartshorne, 
James  Hendricks,  John  Fitzgerald,  Samuel  Hanson,  and  Charles  Lee.  Their  letter  of 
acceptance  to  Washington  is  dated  Dec.  17,  1785,  and  is  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



It  has  long  been  my  intention  to  invest,  at  my  death,  one 
thousand  pounds  current  money  of  this  State  in  the  hands  of 
Trustees,  the  interest  only  of  which  to  be  applied  in  instituting 
a  school  in  the  Town  of  Alexandria,  for  the  purpose  of  edu- 
cating orphan  children  who  have  no  other  resource,  or  the 
children  of  such  indigent  parents  as  are  unable  to  give  it.  The 
objects  to  be  considered  of  and  determined  by  the  Trustees  for 
the  time  being,  when  applied  to  by  the  parents  or  friends  of  the 
children  who  have  pretensions  to  this  provision.  It  is  not  in  my 
power  at  this  time  to  advance  the  above  sum ;  but  that  a  measure, 
that  may  be  productive  of  good,  may  not  be  delayed,  I  will  until 
my  death,  or  until  it  shall  be  more  convenient  for  my  Estate  to 
advance  the  principal,  pay  the  interest  thereof  (to  wit,  fifty 
pounds)  annually. 

Under  this  state  of  the  matter,  I  submit  to  your  consideration 
the  practicability  and  propriety  of  blending  the  two  institutions 
together,  so  as  to  make  one  Seminary  under  the  direction  of 
the  President,  Visitors,  or  such  other  establishment  as  to  you 
shall  seem  best  calculated  to  promote  the  objects  in  view,  and 
for  preserving  order,  regularity,  and  good  conduct  in  the  Acad- 
emy. My  intention,  as  I  have  before  intimated,  is,  that  the  prin- 
cipal sum  shall  never  be  broken  in  upon;  the  interest  only  to  be 
applied  for  the  purposes  above  mentioned.  It  was  also  my  in- 
tention to  apply  the  latter  to  the  sole  purpose  of  education,  and 
of  that  kind  of  education  which  would  be  most  extensively 
useful  to  people  of  the  lower  class  of  citizens,  viz.  reading, 
writing  and  arithmetic,  so  as  to  fit  them  for  mechanical  purposes. 

The  fund,  if  confined  to  this,  would  comprehend  more  sub- 
jects; but,  if  you  shall  be  of  opinion,  that  the  proposition  I  now 
offer  can  be  made  to  comport  with  the  institution  of  the  School 
which  is  already  established;  and  approve  of  an  incorporation 
of  them  in  the  manner  before  mentioned,  and  thereafter,  upon 


a  full  consideration  of  the  matter,  should  conceive  that  this  fund 
would  be  more  advantageously  applied  towards  cloathing  and 
schooling,  than  solely  to  the  latter,  I  will  acquiesce  in  it  most 
cheerfully;  and  shall  be  ready,  (as  soon  as  the  Trustees  are 
established  upon  a  permanent  footing,)  by  Deed  or  other  in- 
strument of  writing,  to  vest  the  aforesaid  sum  of  One  thousand 
pounds,  in  them  and  their  successors  forever,  with  powers  to 
direct  and  manage  the  same  agreeably  to  these  my  declared 


Mount  Vernon,  December  18, 1785. 

Sir :  Your  letter  of  the  16th.,  with  others,  were  put  into  my 
hands  yesterday  in  Alexandria;  but  being  engaged  at  that  time 
I  did  not  open  them  until  I  returned  home  in  the  evening;  or,  I 
would  have  sought  an  opportunity  of  conversing  with  you  on 
the  subject  of  it,  whilst  I  was  in  Town. 

On  the  footing  you  have  placed  your  offer,  though  I  feel  my- 
self obliged  by  it,  I  am  unable,  from  the  indecision  of  it,  to 
return  a  satisfactory  answer.  It  would  by  no  means  suit  me 
to  await  the  determinations  of  the  Assemblies  of  those  States 
(which  are  mentioned  in  your  letter)  on  the  applications  you 
are  about  to  make  to  them;  and  afterwards,  a  consultation  of 
circumstances  and  your  convenience,  before  you  could  resolve 
on  what  plan  to  fix.  Nor  indeed,  does  your  offer  go  to  more 
than  one  point,  whilst  I  have  three  objects  in  view,  namely :  the 
education  of  the  Children,  Aiding  me  in  my  corrispondencies, 
and  keeping  my  Accounts:  The  last  of  which,  I  believe  might 
be  dispensed  with;  or,  at  any  rate  when  they  are  once  digested, 
and  brought  into  order  (which  is  the  present  employment  of 

54 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  NAVIGATION  STOCK  359 

Mr.  Shaw)  they  will  require  very  little  attention;  but  the  other 
two  are  essential  to  my  purposes. 

I  send  you  the  sketches  of  American  policy,55  and  conceive 
that  the  publication  of  extracts  therefrom  will  be  pleasing,  and 
may  be  beneficial.  All  possible  lights  ought,  in  my  opinion,  to 
be  thrown  on  subjects  of  this  importance,  for  it  should  seem 
that  ignorance,  or  design,  have  too  great  a  share  in  the  govern- 
ment of  public  measures.  I  am  etc.  [ n.  y.  p.  l. ] 


Mount  Vernon,  December  18, 1785. 

My  Dr.  Sir:  I  have  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  letter  of  the 
7th.  inst:  enclosing  an  Act  of  the  General  Assembly,  which 
passed  at  my  request.50 

This  new  proof  of  the  confidence  repos'd  in  me  by  my  Coun- 
try, lays  me  under  additional  obligations  to  it;  and  I  am  equally 
sensible  of  its  favors,  and  the  polite  and  friendly  wishes  with 
which  you  accompanied  the  act. 

If  the  etiquette  of  business  makes  it  necessary  for  me  officially 
to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  this  Act,  let  me  entreat  you  my 
Dr.  Sir,  to  offer  to  the  House  in  my  behalf  but  in  your  own 
words,  the  grateful  sense  I  have  of  its  goodness  upon  this  occa- 
sion, with  assurances  that  the  confidence  reposed  in  me,  shall 
not  intentionally  be  abused.  With  great  esteem,  etc. 


December  19,  1785. 
The  Bearer  of  this  Pedro  Tellez,  is  the  Spaniard  who  was 
sent  from  Bilboa  in  Spain,  with  one  of  the  Jack  Asses  which 

65 Webster's  "Sketches  of  American  Policy"  was  printed  as  a  pamphlet  in  1785. 
58  Act  of  Oct.  17,  1785,  permitting  Washington  to  dispose  of  the  donated  stock  of 
the  Potomac  and  James  Rivers  navigation  companies,  as  he  so  requested. 


was  presented  to  me  by  His  Catholic  Majesty,  and  is  on  his 
journey  to  New  York,  to  the  Minister  of  Spain,  with  a  view  of 
returning  to  his  own  Country  from  thence.57 

Not  being  able  to  speak  any  other  language  than  that  of  his 
native  tongue,  it  is  requested  as  a  favor  of  the  good  people  on 
the  road  to  assist  and  direct  him  properly,  which  will  be  con- 
sidered as  an  obligation  conferred  on,  G:  Washington58 


Virginia,  December  19,  1785. 

Sir:  My  homage  is  due  to  his  Catholic  Majesty  for  the  honor 
of  his  present.  The  value  of  it  is  intrinsically  great,  but  is  ren- 
dered inestimable  by  the  manner  and  from  the  hand  it  is 

Let  me  entreat  you  therefore,  Sir,  to  lay  before  the  King  my 
thanks  for  the  Jack  Asses  with  which  he  has  been  graciously 
pleased  to  compliment  me;  and  to  assure  his  Majesty  of  my 
unbounded  gratitude  for  so  condescending  a  mark  of  his  royal 
notice  and  favor. 

That  long  life,  perfect  health,  and  unfading  glory  may  attend 
his  Majesty's  reign,  is  my  fervent  wish.  With  great  respect  and 
consideration  I  have  the  honor  etc.59 


Mount  Vernon,  December  19, 1785. 
Sir:  This  letter  will  be  handed  to  you  by  Mr.  Peter  Tellez 
who  attended  the  Jack  Ass,  which  arrived  safe,  to  this  place : 

67  A  certificate  also  was  furnished  Tellez  (December  19)  that  he  had  delivered  one 
jackass  and  that  his  care  and  attention  to  the  valuable  animal  was  most  acceptable. 
A  copy  of  this  certificate  is  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

58 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

50 From  a  photostat  of  the  letter  sent  which  is  in  Archivo  Historico  Nacional 
Madrid,  Estado,  Legajo  3885,  Expedicnte  26. 

1785]  RETURN  OF  TELLEZ  361 

for  want  of  an  Interpreter  I  have  not  been  able  to  understand 
him  perfectly;  but  as  far  as  his  wishes  have  been  explained  to 
me,  they  are,  that  he  may  be  permitted  to  return  to  Spain  as 
soon  as  possible;  that  it  is  proper  he  should  go  by  the  way  of 
New  York  to  see  his  Excellency  Don  Gardoqui;  that  as  he  was 
employed  by  his  Catholic  Majesty,  and  in  the  Kings  pay  until 
he  return'd  (his  wife  receiving  part  of  it  from  Mr.  Gardoqui 
at  Bilboa)  he  would  take  none  from  me. 

Under  these  circumstances  I  have  forwarded  him  to  Nw. 
York,  after  prevailing  on  him  to  take  a  trifle  as  an  acknowledg- 
ment of  the  obligation  I  am  under  to  him,  for  his  care  of  the 
animal  on  which  I  set  the  highest  value.  He  has  some  expec- 
tation indeed,  that  at  his  return  his  Majesty  may  bestow  some 
humble  appointment  on  him,  in  the  Collection  of  his  Customs; 
and  therein  he  has  my  wishes,  but  I  could  not  ask  it  for  him,  or 
even  hint  it  to  the  Minister. 

Not  having  the  honor  of  an  acquaintance  with  his  Excelly. 
Mr.  Gardoqui,  I  have  taken  the  liberty  of  making  these  com- 
munications to  you;  and  to  pray,  if  there  is  anything  improper 
in  my  sending  Mr.  Tellez  to  Nw.  York,  or  in  my  conduct  towards 
him,  that  it  may  be  ascribed  to  misconception,  and  misunder- 
standing his  wants  by  bad  interpretation.  Altho'  unknown,  I 
pray  you  to  make  a  tender  of  my  respectful  compliments  to  Mr. 
Gardoqui,  and  to  accompany  them  with  the  strongest  assur- 
ances of  the  pleasure  I  should  feel  in  seeing  him  at  this  Seat  of 
my  retirement,  if  inclination  should  ever  induce  him  to  visit  the 
States  to  the  southward  of  Nw.  York.  It  is  unnecessary  to  offer 
you  the  same  assurances,  because  I  have  repeatedly  done  it  be- 
fore, and  you  must  have  been  convinced  of  my  sincerity.  With 
very  great  esteem  etc. 

P.  S.  Mr.  Tellez  is  charged  with  a  Letter  from  me  to  Mr. 
Carmichael,  enclosing  one  to  His  Exy.  the  Count  de  Florida 


Blanca,  praying  that  my  homage  and  gratitude  may  be  pre- 
sented to  his  Catholic  Majesty  for  the  favor  he  has  conferred 
on  me  for  the  honor  of  his  royal  notice.60 


Mount  Vernon,  December  19, 1785. 

Sir:  One  the  Jacks  with  which  his  Catholic  Majesty  was 
pleased  to  present  me,  has  arrived  safe;  and  the  enclos'd  to  his 
Minister  is  a  testimony  of  my  gratitude  for  the  singular  mark 
of  his  royal  notice.  I  pray  you  Sir,  to  do  me  the  honor  of  pre- 
senting it.  I  hesitate  a  while,  whether  to  express  my  sense  of 
this  obligation  at  first,  or  second  hand;  but  considering  the 
value  of  it,  I  determined  on  the  former,  and  at  the  same  time 
that  I  would  enclose  you  a  copy  of  what  I  had  written. 

The  Spaniard,  Seignor  Pedro  Tellez  who  accompanied  the 
Jack  which  arrived  safe,  has  expressed  a  wish  to  obtain  a  line 
of  approbation  from  me ;  by  means  of  which  he  thinks  he  could 
obtain  some  low  office  in  the  King's  Customs:  but  it  was  a 
liberty  I  could  not  take,  further  than  to  express  in  the  Certifi- 
cate I  have  given  him,  my  sense  of  his  care  of  the  animal  which 
was  entrusted  to  him.  But  if  a  word  my  good  Sir,  could  oc- 
casionally drop  from  you  to  this  effect,  it  might  do  an  essential 
service  to  the  poor  fellow  (who  it  seems  has  a  wife  and  chil- 
dren) and  would  be  considered  as  an  additional  favor  con- 
ferred on,  Sir  Yrs.  etc.60 


Mount  Vernon,  December  20, 1785. 
Dr.  Sir:  From  the  assurances  you  gave  me  I  had  flattered  my- 
self that  I  should  'ere  this  have  received  a  payment  from  you; 

90 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


and  I  had  no  doubt  of  it  after  Colo.  Fitzgerald  informed  me, 
five  months  ago  that  ^200  had  passed  thro'  his  hands  from  Mr. 
White  to  you;  which  was  the  fund,  if  I  understood  you  rightly, 
which  you  had  appropriated  for  this  purpose. 

I  beg  you  to  be  assured  that  the  disclosure  I  made  to  you  of 
my  circumstances  was  candid;  and  that  it  cannot  be  more  dis- 
agreeable to  you  to  hear,  than  it  is  to  me  to  repeat  that  my  wants 
are  pressing,  some  debts  which  I  am  really  ashamed  to  owe,  are 
unpaid ;  and  I  have  been,  for  want  of  money,  unable  to  do  more 
with  my  manufacturing  Mill,  (which  is  expensive  to  me  with- 
out) than  to  grind  up  my  own  Crops;  for  wheat  is  not  to  be 
bought  on  credit,  and  I  have  not  cash  to  pay  for  it.  But  this  is 
not  the  worst,  I  have  not  made  half  grain  enough  to  support 
my  people  and  stock  this  year,  the  deficiency  must  be  bought  at 
a  high  price,  and  (for  there  is  no  question  of  the  Articles  bear- 
ing it)  for  ready  money.  I  must  therefore  get  it  at  an  advanced 
price,  if  to  be  had  at  all,  on  credit;  or  I  must  sell  something  at  a 
low  price  to  enable  me  to  pay  ready  money.  This  is  truly  my 
situation.  I  am,  etc.61 


Mount  Vernon,  December  20, 1785. 
Dr.  Lund :  Having  come  to  a  fixed  determination  (whatever 
else  may  be  left  undone)  to  attend  to  the  business  of  my  plan- 
tations; and  having  enquired  of  Geo:  Washington62  how  far  it 
would  be  agreeable  to  him  and  his  wife  to  make  this  place  a 
permanent  residence,  (for  before  it  was  only  considered  as 
their  temporary  abode,  until  some  plan  could  be  settled  for 
them)  and  finding  it  to  comport  with  their  inclinations,  I  now 
inform  you  that  it  will  be  in  my  power  to  comply  with  your 

From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
82  George  Augustine  Washington. 


wishes  with  less  inconvenience  than  appeared  when  you  first 
proposed  to  leave  my  employment. 

The  business  of  the  Mill  is  what  both  of  us,  will  be  most  at  a 
loss  about  at  first;  and  as  the  people  wanting  flour  are  in  the 
habit  of  applying  to  you  for  it,  it  would  be  rendering  me  a 
service  to  give  your  attention  to  this  matter,  until  he  can  be- 
come a  little  acquainted  with  the  mode  of  managing  it;  and 
your  advice  to  him  afterwards  in  this  and  other  affairs  may  be 

The  mode  of  paying  the  taxes,  the  times  of  collection,  and  in 
what  kind  of  property  it  is  most  advantageous  to  discharge 
them,  and  the  amount  of  them,  is  another  business  in  which 
he  will  be  to  seek;  and  I  have  not  sufficient  knowledge  of  the 
practice  to  instruct  him. 

Nothing  else  occurs  to  me  at  this  time  in  which  it  is  essential 
to  give  you  any  trouble  after  the  present  year;  for  if  I  should 
not  be  able  to  visit  the  plantations  as  often  as  I  could  wish, 
(owing  to  company  or  other  engagements)  I  am  resolved  that 
an  account  of  the  stock  and  every  occurrence  that  happens  in 
the  course  of  the  week  shall  be  minutely  detailed  to  me  every 
Saturday.  Matters  cannot  go  much  out  of  sorts  in  that  time 
without  a  seasonable  remedy.  For  both  our  interests,  the  wheat 
remaining  in  the  straw  should  be  an  object  of  your  care.  I 
am,  etc.63 


Mount  Vernon,  December  20, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  It  so  happened  that  your  letter  of  the  4th.  ulto.  with 
its  enclosures,  did  not  meet  a  quick  passage  to  me;  and  that 
some  delays  afterwards,  more  the  effect  of  accident  than  neg- 
lect, prevented  the  Petition  and  Bill,64  (which  you  are  so  oblig- 

63 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
64  Of  the  Potomac  Company. 


ing  as  to  draw)  from  getting  to  the  Assemblies  of  the  two 
States,  so  soon  as  were  to  be  wished;  however  they  are  now 
before  them;  and  from  that  of  Maryland,  I  am  inform'd  by  a 
gentleman  to  whom  I  had  written  on  the  occasion,  that  the 
business  could  meet  with  no  opposition  there;  and  from  that  of 
this  State  that  it  was  reported  reasonable.  Acts  it  is  to  be  hoped, 
will  therefore  pass,  conformably  to  our  desires. 

I  feel  myself  much  obliged  by  the  calculations  you  have  been 
at  the  trouble  to  make  and  to  transmit  to  me;  and  at  all  times 
shall  be  happy  in  a  full  and  unreserved  communication  of  your 
sentiments  on  this,  or  any  other  business.  This  in  particular  in 
a  new  work  stands  in  need  of  all  the  information  we  can  obtain, 
and  is  much  indebted  to  you  for  many  estimates,  and  ideas 
which  have  been  very  useful. 

It  is  to  be  apprehended,  notwithstanding  the  great  encour- 
agements which  have  been  offered  by  the  Directors  of  the 
Company  for  the  hire  of  negroes,  that  we  shall  not  succeed  in 
obtaining  them.  An  idea  is  entertained  by  the  proprietors  of 
them,  that  the  nature  of  the  work  will  expose  them  to  dangers 
which  are  not  compensated  by  the  terms.  Servants  I  hope  are 
purchased  'ere  this;  Colo.  Fitzgerald  was  to  have  gone  yester- 
day to  George  town  for  this  purpose.  If  the  appearance  of  the 
people  is  at  all  favorable,  the  price  at  which  Colo.  Deakens  offers 
them  will  be  no  obstacle. 

This  letter,  handed  to  the  care  of  Colo.  Deakens,  will  be  ac- 
companied by  a  small  bag  of  Spanish  Chestnutts,  half  of  which 
you  will  please  to  accept,  and  the  other  contrive  to  Mr.  Lee; 
they  were  sent  to  the  Alexandria  races  in  October  to  be  given 
to  him,  but  the  delivery  was  neglected.  It  might  be  well  perhaps 
to  put  them  in  sand  to  prevent  an  over  drying,  to  the  injury  of 
vegitation.  With  very  great  esteem,  etc.65 

From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  December  24, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir:  I  have  received  your  favor  of  the  18th.,  and  am  ex- 
ceedingly obliged  to  you  for  the  Contract  you  have  entered 
into  on  my  behalf,  with  Mr.  Savage,66  for  800  bushels  of  oats. 
If  you  can  extend  the  quantity  to  be  had  from  him,  to  1200 
bushels  in  the  whole,  upon  the  same  terms,  it  would  add 
greatly  to  the  favor  as  my  crop  of  Corn  is  much  worse  than  I 
had  conceived  it  to  be  when  I  wrote  to  you  last  (not  having 
received  the  tallies)  which  together  do  not  amount  to  one  third 
of  what  I  made  last  year;  which  is  insufficient  to  feed  my 
negroes,  much  more  to  afford  support  for  my  Horses.  This 
evinces  the  necessity  also  of  my  knowing  speedily  and  pre- 
cisely, if  I  may  depend  upon  any  from  the  Estate  below,  and 
the  quantity. 

The  Eastern  shore  oats  generally  speaking,  are  light  and 
indifferent;  and  what  is  worse,  are  often  mixed  with  the  wild 
onions :  as  I  mean  to  sow  oats  next  Spring  to  help  me  along,  it 
would  be  obliging  in  Mr.  Savage,  if  he  could  send  me  such  as 
are  free  from  this  troublesome,  and  injurious  plant  to  our 

I  thank  you  too  for  the  information  respecting  the  interest 
of  the  loans  to  the  Continent  in  this  State :  I  send  what  Certifi- 
cates I  possess,  to  you;  but  fear  that  those  who  live  at  a  distance 
from  the  Theatre,  have  little  chance  of  being  benefited  by  the 
Act  of  the  Legislature;  although  they  may  get  their  Certificates 
to  the  Treasury  on  or  before  the  time  limited,  but  if  I  should 
be  mistaken  in  this,  you  would  serve  me  essentially  by  bring- 
ing Cash  in  exchange  for  those  which  are  enclosed,  agreeably 
to  the  list  which  accompanies  them.  With  great  esteem,  etc.76 

86  George  Savage,  of.  Northampton  County,  Va. 

97 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1785]  LAND  BOUNDARIES  367 


Mount  Vernon,  December  27, 1785. 

Dr.  Sir :  In  looking  over  the  list  of  premiums  proposed  by 
the  Agricultural  Society  of  Philada.,  I  perceive  that  those  of- 
fered for  the  2d.  3d.  and  4th.  articles,  were  to  have  been  pro- 
duced according  to  the  requisin.  by  the  20th.  inst: 

Each  of  these  being  interesting  to  a  farmer  you  would  oblige 
me  much  therefore  by  giving  me  the  result  of  the  communi- 
cations on  these  heads  to  the  Society,  if  any  discoveries  worth 
notice  have  been  handed  to  it. 

Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  offering  the  compliments  of 
the  season  to  Mrs.  Powel  and  yourself,  and  in  best  wishes  that 
you  may  see  many  returns  of  it.  With  great  esteem,  etc.68 


Mount  Vernon,  January  5, 1786. 

Sir :  A  few  days  ago  a  Mr.  Isaac  Jenny  of  Loudon  County  was 
with  me  respecting  a  Piece  of  Land,  which  he  Supposing  was  Va- 
cant had  been  endeavouring  to  obtain,  but  which  upon  investi- 
gation, he  finds  belongs  to  me,  and  in  part  of  my  Chattins  Run 
tract,  (adjoining  Robt.  Ashbys),  though  Claimed  by  Mr.  Robt. 
Scott,  who  has  Placed  a  tenant  thereon  (One  Jesse  Hite)  whose 
first  years  Rent  is  now  due.  As  far  as  I  can  understand  the  mat- 
ter, the  following  is  a  true  State  of  the  case; 

Both  Scott  and  I  bind  upon  Burgess's  Patent,  and  call  for  his 
Lines.  One  of  which  it  Should  seem,  runs  a  Certain  Course  and 
Distance,  and  Calls  for  a  Red  Oak;  but  in  Place  of  a  Red  Oak, 
there  is  a  White  Oak,  which  Mr.  Jenny  says  all  the  Neighbours 
know  to  be  Burgess's  Corner,  and  he  is  informed  that  the  Sur- 
veyor of  the  County  has  established  it  as  such.  From  hence  I 

68 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


Run  Two  or  Three  Short  Courses  with  Burgess's  lines  to  a  Red 
Oak.  And  from  thence  a  line  with  Scott;  But  Scott  wants,  and 
it  Should  Seem  (from  Mr.  Jenny's  Account)  actually  got  Ashby 
when  he  was  laying  my  Land  off  into  Lotts,  to  leave  out  those 
Short  courses  above  mentioned,  by  which  is  a  line  of  Blazed 
Trees,  which  were  then,  or  at  Some  other  time,  made  to  Sub- 
serve the  Purpose;  I  am  Cut  out  of  170  or  180  Acres  of  Land, 
which  are  within  the  lines  of  my  Patent,  and  now  Tenanted  by 
Scott,  to  Hite.  Inclosed  I  Send  you  a  copy  of  the  Courses  and 
Boundaries  of  my  Land,  taken  from  the  Original  Patents 
and  Pray  the  first  time  you  go  into  the  Neighbourhood,  that  you 
would  have  the  matter  enquired  into.  I  have  no  objection  to 
Hite's  having  the  Land,  and  would  give  him  the  Preference, 
but  Shall  not  by  any  means  (If  the  Land  is  mine)  think  myself 
bound  to  fulfill  Scott's  agreement  with  him.  He  must  (except 
in  the  Preference  above)  Stand  upon  the  Same  footing  with  me, 
as  another  Man. 

Sometime  ago  Mr.  Landon  Carter  informed  me  that  a  Patent 
of  which  he  is  Possessed  takes  away  part  of  my  Tract  in  Ashby's 
Bent.  I  replyed  that  I  wanted  no  Land  but  my  own,  nor  to  go 
into  a  Litigation  of  the  right.  If  it  was  realy  his.  But  this  Right 
must  be  clearly  ascertained  before  I  shall  Surrender  the  land: 
which  I  mention  that  if  upon  enquiry  you  find  he  has  taken 
possession  of  any  part  of  what  I  hold  by  Purchase  there,  and 
which  I  laid  out  into  lots,  I  may  be  informed  thereof,  and  to 
prevent  his  doing  it,  if  it  remains  to  be  done.  Be  so  good  as 
to  inform  me  by  the  first  conveyance,  whether  Clover  Seed, 
is  to  be  bought  in  your  Neighbourhood,  and  if  so  the  quantity 
and  Place  of  it.  On  your  answer  will  depend  my  Purchase  with 
you,  or  at  Philadelphia.  I  have  great  reason  to  fear,  that  that 
which  you  bought  for  me  last  year  was  good  for  nothing.  If  so, 
and  the  Man  of  whom  you  got  it,  was  apprized  thereof,  I  Shall 
view  him  in  a  light  infinitely  worse  than  a  pick  pocket,  because 

1786]  THE  NEW  ROOM  369 

the  latter  only  takes  your  Money,  whilst  the  former  does  this 
also,  runs  you  to  a  useless  cost,  of  Putting  land  in  fine  Tilth,  for 
the  Seed,  and  occasions  the  loss  of  a  year  in  ones  Projects. 

I  have  heard  nothing  more  of  the  Butter,  which  you  were  to 
have  lodg'd  at  Mr.  Wayles's  by  the  23d.  of  last  Month,  I  hope 
no  disappointment  will  take  Place,  now  especially  as  I  Could 
after  I  had  engaged  this  of  you,  have  Purchased  any  quantity, 
of  very  fine  Butter  in  Alexandria,  at  gd.  p  lb.  having  obtained 
200  lbs.  at  that  Price.  I  am  etc.69 


Mount  Vernon,  January  7, 1786. 

Dear  Sir:  Your  favor  of  the  30th.  Ulto.  did  not  reach  me  until 
last  night.  Except  it  is  by  chance,  letters  by  the  Stage  never  get 
to  my  hands  so  quickly  as  they  do  by  the  Post;  nor  so  safely, 
because  I  send  regularly  every  post  day  to  the  Office  in  Alex- 
andria, whilst  those  by  the  Stage  getting  into  private  hands 
await  accidental  conveyances  from  that  place.  I  mention  this 
circumstance  as  a  reply  might  have  been  expected  from  me 

As  it  is  convenient  and  indeed  essential  to  me,  to  have  the  use 
of  my  unfinished  room  as  soon  as  may  be,  I  agree  to  Mr.  Raw- 
lins's terms  (as  stated  in  your  letter)  in  all  their  parts;  not  but 
that  I  am  convinced  from  what  I  know  of  the  business  (being 
once  part  owner  of  as  accomplished  a  workman  as  ever  came  to 
this  Country,  in  that  way,  and  the  manner  of  its  execution)  that 
Mr.  Rawlins  has  imposed  upon  Mr.  Gough  and  now  avails  him- 
self of  the  scarcity  of  Artisans  of  his  profession,  to  extort  high 

^In  the  writing  of  William  Shaw.  This  letter  is  inadvertently  entered  as  Jan.  5, 
1785,  in  the  "Letter  Book"  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

On  January  5  Washington  entered  into  articles  of  agreement  with  Thomas  Green 
to  serve  [as  a  carpenter]  for  one  year.  This  agreement,  in  Washington's  writing,  is 
in  the  Washington  Papers. 


terms  from  me.  Most  of  this  work  is  cast,  and  is  as  quickly  done 
as  lead  is  run  into  a  mould.  But  rather  than  encounter  further 
delay,  perhaps  a  disappointment,  or  ask  the  favor  of  a  stranger 
to  engage  an  undertaker  to  cross  the  Atlantic  who  might  be 
troublesome  to  me  thereafter,  I  submit  to  this  imposition  as  the 
lesser  evil. 

As  Mr.  Rawlins  is  a  stranger  to  me,  and  one,  of  whose  char- 
acter I  have  not  the  smallest  knowledge ;  and  as  I  have  had  some 
reason  to  remember  an  old  adage,  that  one  of  the  bad  paymas- 
ters is  him  that  pays  before  hand,  I  persuade  myself  that  you 
will  be  satisfied  I  shall  run  no  risk  in  advancing  him  money  to 
the  amount  of  ^50  in  the  course  of  the  winter,  'ere  it  is  done. 
And  as  you  are  so  obliging  as  to  offer  to  do  this,  your  drafts  on 
me  for  such  advances  as  you  make  him,  shall  be  punctually  paid. 

When  the  agreement  is  specifically  entered  into,  and  bound, 
be  so  good  as  to  request  Mr.  Rawlins  to  point  out  the  prepara- 
tive steps  for  me,  that  no  delays  may  follow  his  arrival.  I  shall 
rely  more  upon  your  friendship  and  goodness,  than  upon  any 
apology  I  could  make,  for  an  excuse  for  the  trouble  this  business 
has  already  give  you,  and  is  likely  to  give,  you  before  its  finally 
accomplishment;  and  can  only  assure  you  that  with  unfeigned 
esteem  and  Affection  I  am,  etc. 

P.  S.  I  send  this  letter  to  Alexa.  to  take  the  chance  of  a  private 
conveyance,  but  it  is  probable  the  Post  will  offer  the  first. 


Mount  Vernon,  January  10, 1786. 
Madam :  I  wish  my  expression  would  do  justice  to  my  feel- 
ings, that  I  might  convey  to  you  adequate  ideas  of  my  grati- 
tudes for  those  favourable  sentiments  with  which  the  letter  you 
did  me  the  honor  to  write  to  me  from  New  York,  is  replete. 
The  plaudit  of  a  lady  so  celebrated  as  Mrs.  Macauly  Graham 

1786]  PERSONAL  MENTION  371 

is,  could  not  fail  of  making  a  deep  impression  upon  my  sensi- 
bility; and  my  pride  was  more  than  a  little  flattered  by  your 
approbation  of  my  conduct  thro' an  arduous  and  painful  contest. 

During  the  time  in  which  we  supposed  you  to  have  been  on 
your  journey  to  New  York,  we  participated  in  the  distresses 
which  we  were  sure  you  must  have  been  involved  in  on  ac- 
count of  the  intemperature  of  the  air,  which  exceeded  the 
heats  common  in  this  Country  at  the  most  inclement  season : 
and  tho'  your  letter  was  expressive  of  the  great  fatigue  you  had 
undergone,  still  we  rejoiced  that  the  journey  was  attended  with 
no  worse  consequences. 

I  hope,  and  most  sincerely  wish  that  this  letter  may  find  you 
happily  restored  to  your  friends  in  England,  whose  anxiety  for 
your  return  must,  I  am  persuaded,  have  been  great;  and  that 
you  will  have  experienced  no  inconvenience  from  your  voyage 
to  America. 

Mrs.  Washington  who  has  a  grateful  sense  of  your  favorable 
mention  of  her;  and  Fanny  Bassett  and  Major  Washington 
who,  since  we  had  the  honor  of  your  company,  have  joined 
their  hands  and  fortunes,  unite  with  me  in  respectful  compli- 
ments to  you;  and  in  every  good  wish  that  can  render  you  and 
Mr.  Graham  happy.  The  little  folks  enjoy  perfect  health.  The 
boy,  whom  you  would  readily  have  perceived,  was  the  pet  of 
the  family,  gives  promising  hopes  from  maturer  age. 

With  sentiments  of  great  respect  and  esteem:,  I  have  the 
honor,  etc.70 


Mount  Vernon,  January  20, 1786. 
Dr.  Sir:  I  have  been  favored  with  your  letter  of  the  10th. 
inst:  with  its  inclosures,  the  last  are  returned  signed.  I  also 

'"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


send  you  a  copy  of  the  courses  of  the  Lotts  purchased  by  your- 
self and  me  at  the  sale  of  your  brother's  Land,  and  shall  thank 
you  for  the  conveyances  which  are  necessary  to  secure  the  legal 
right  to  those  which  I  hold. 

I  am  sorry  to  hear  that  you  still  continue  indisposed,  you 
have  my  best  wishes  for  a  speedy  and  perfect  recovery  of  your 
health,  and  with  sentimts.  of  sincere  esteem  etc. 

P.  S.  A  few  days  ago  I  received  under  cover,  several  copies 
of  the  inclosed  proposals71  from  the  Author;  one  of  which  has 
obtained  a  good  many  subscribers  in  Alexa.  I  use  the  freedom 
of  sending  a  copy  to  you,  that  in  case  yourself  and  friends  in 
and  about  Fredericksburgh  should  incline  to  become  subscrib- 
ers to  the  work,  an  opportunity  may  be  furnished.  As  the 
Doctr.,72  it  is  to  be  presumed,  will  look  to  me  for  a  return  of 
the  number  committed  to  my  charge,  I  shall  be  glad  to  re- 
ceive the  enclosed  when  you  shall  find  it  convenient  and 
proper,  so  as  to  be  ready  for  his  call.  I  have  only  to  pray  that  the 
conditions  may  be  complied  with  respecting  the  advance,  as  I 
would  not  incline  to  have  any  thing  more  to  do  in  the  business, 
after  the  subscription  papers  are  returned.73 


Mount  Vernon,  January  20, 1786. 
Sir:  The  letter  which  your  Excellency  did  me  the  favor  to 
write  to  me  on  the  first  of  this  month  does  me  great  honor:  the 
sentiments  which  you  have  been  pleased  to  entertain  of  my  con- 
duct are  very  flattering;  and  the  friendly  manner  in  which  they 
are  expressed  is  highly  pleasing.  They  meet  the  approbation 

"No  subscription  proposals  for  Gordon's  "History  of  the  Rise,  Progress,  and  Estab- 
lishment of  the  Independence  of  the  United  States  of  America"  are  now  found  in  the 
Washington  Papers.  The  work,  in  4  volumes,  first  appeared  in  London  in  1788. 

72  Rev.  William  Gordon. 

™From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1786]  PAYMENT  OF  MONEY  373 

of  a  gentleman  whose  good  wishes  were  early  engaged  in  the 
American  cause,  and  who  has  attended  to  its  progress  thro' 
the  various  stages  of  the  revolution,  must  be  considered  as  a 
happy  circumstance  for  me;  and  I  shall  seek  occasionally  to 
testify  my  sense  of  it. 

With  much  truth,  I  repeat  the  assurances  offered  to  your 
Excellency  thro'  Mr.  Rendon,  of  the  pleasure  I  should  have  in 
seeing  you  at  my  Seat  in  this.  State,  that  I  might  express  per- 
sonally to  you,  how  sensibly  I  feel  for  the  proposed  honor  of 
your  correspondence,  and  pray  you  to  offer  in  such  terms  as 
you  know  would  be  most  acceptable  and  proper,  my  gratitude 
to  His  Catholic  Majesty,  for  his  royal  present  to  me,  than  which 
nothing  could  have  been  more  flattering  or  valuable. 

With  much  esteem,  respect  and  consideration,  I  have  the 
honor,  etc.74 


Mount  Vernon,  January  30,  1786. 

Dr.  Sir:  The  letter  which  you  dropped  for  me  at  Alexandria 
I  have  received.  If  you  can  make  it  convenient  to  lodge  the 
money  in  the  hands  of  any  person  at  that  place,  it  would  oblige 
me.  I  lie  quite  out  of  the  line  of  opportunities  to  Annapolis, 
and  to  send  there  on  purpose,  would  cost  me  2/2,  or  perhaps 
5  pr  Ct.  to  fetch  it. 

If  Mr.  Pine,  the  Portrait  Painter,  should  still  be  at  Annapolis 
(which  is  scarcely  to  be  expected)  you  would  oblige  me  by 
paying  him  Twenty  Guieneas,  and  Sixteen  dollars;  and  his 
receipt  for  these  sums,  will  be  equal  to  that  much  of  the  ^200 
promised  me.  If  he  should  have  left  Annapolis,  I  will  remit  the 
money  to  him  myself. 

74 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  compliments  to  Mrs.  Mercer. 
We  shall  always  be  glad  to  see  you  both  at  this  place  on  your  rout 
to  or  from  Annapolis.  My  best  respects  attend  Mr.  Spriggs 75 
family.  I  am  etc.  [h.s.p.] 


Mount  Vernon,  January  31, 1786. 
Sir:  If  you  have  no  cause  to  change  your  opinion  respecting 
your  mechanical  Boat,  and  reasons  unknown  to  me  do  not 
exist  to  delay  the  exhibition  of  it,  I  would  advise  you  to  give  it 
to  the  public  as  soon  as  it  can  be  prepared,  conveniently.  The 
postponement  creates  distrust  in  the  public  mind;  it  gives  time 
also  for  the  imagination  to  work,  and  this  is  assisted  by  a  little 
dropping  from  one,  and  something  from  another,  to  whom 
you  have  disclosed  the  secret:  should  therefore  a  mechanical 
genius  hit  upon  your  plan,  or  something  similar  to  it,  I  need  not 
add  that  it  would  place  you  in  an  awkward  situation,  and  per- 
haps disconcert  all  your  prospects  concerning  this  useful  dis- 
covery; for  you  are  not,  with  your  experience  in  life,  now  to 
learn  that  the  shoulders  of  the  public  are  too  broad  to  feel  the 
weight  of  the  complaints  of  an  individual,  or  to  regard  prom- 
ises, if  they  find  it  convenient,  and  have  the  shadow  of  plausi- 
bility on  their  side,  to  retract  them.  I  will  inform  you  further, 
that  many  people  in  guessing  at  your  plan,  have  come  very 
near  the  mark;  and  that  one,  who  had  something  of  a  similar 
nature  to  offer  to  the  public,  wanted  a  Certificate  from  me  that 
it  was  different  from  yours.  I  told  him,  that  as  I  was  not  at 
liberty  to  declare  what  your  plan  was,  so  I  did  not  think  it 
proper  to  say  what  it  was  not. 

75  Richard  Sprigg. 


Whatever  may  be  your  determination  after  this  hint,  I  have 
only  to  request  that  my  sentiments  on  the  subject  may  be  as- 
cribed to  friendly  motives,  and  taken  in  good  part. 

I  should  be  glad  to  know  the  exact  state  in  which  my  houses 
at  Bath  are.  I  have  fifty  pounds  ready,  for  which  you  may  draw 
on  me  at  any  time;  and  I  will  settle  for  the  whole  as  soon  as 

Herewith  you  will  receive  a  Magazine  containing  the  esti- 
mates of  the  expence  of  the  Canal  in  Scotland.  It  belongs  to 
Mr.  Johnson  who  requested  me  to  forward  it  to  you  after  I  had 
read  it,  to  him  you  will  be  pleased  to  return  the  book  when 
you  are  done  with  it.  With  esteem,  etc.76 


Mount  Vernon,  February  4, 1786. 

Sir:  My  last  by  Mr.  Daniel  McPherson  would  inform  you 
why  I  did  not  write  more  fully  by  that  opportunity;  and  my 
attendance  since  on  the  business  of  the  Potomac  Company  at 
the  Great  Falls,  is  the  reason  of  the  delay  in  doing  it  until  now. 

Your  letters,  of  the  10th.  of  Deer,  and  of  the  12th.  17th.  and 
18th.  of  last  month  are  before  me,  and  such  parts  of  them  as 
have  not  been  answered  and  appear  to  require  it,  shall  be  the 
subjects  of  this  letter;  taking  them  in  the  order  of  their  dates. 

The  Butter  is  at  length  arrived,  and  as  I  had  depended  upon 
it,  I  shall  keep  the  whole  tho'  the  price  is  at  least  2d.  pr.  Ct. 
more  than  I  was  supplied  with  very  good  for,  at  Alexandria  in 
the  fall.  Where  there  is  an  evidence  of  exertion  in  the  Tenants 
to  pay  rents  and  arrearages,  I  think  you  act  very  properly  by 
giving  them  encouraging  words, and  assurances  of  indulgence: 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


distress  to  them,  and  little  advantage  to  me,  would  accrue 
from  a  contrary  conduct.  But  where  it  shall  appear  that 
there  is  no  such  intention;  that  to  postpone  payment  is  the 
sole  aim;  and  where  the  conditions  of  the  Leases  have  been 
unattended  to  by  them,  and  their  only  object  has  been  to  carry 
the  land,  and  not  the  produce  of  it  to  market,  here,  no  favor 
is  due. 

Abner  Grigg  has  never  appeared  here,  if  he  comes,  I  shall 
not  forget  your  information  respecting  him.  In  the  meanwhile 
let  me  observe,  that  it  is  the  compliance  or  non-compliance 
with  the  Lease  which  is  to  determine  his  right  to  return.  If  he 
is  warranted  by  the  tenor  of  the  lease  to  do  so,  I  shall  not  dis- 
pute the  point  with  him;  but  watch  his  ways  well  in  future 
without  granting  him  any  endulgences;  if  he  is  not,  then  take 
the  speediest  and  most  effectual  mode  to  get  rid  of  him.  For 
your  exertions  in  following  and  catching  him,  I  feel  myself 
obliged  to  you;  as  I  also  do  for  your  endeavours  to  rent  the 
vacant  Lotts,  altho'  they  should  not  be  crowned  with  success. 

I  hope  you  will  be  more  fortunate  in  your  collection  than 
your  letter  of  the  12th.  seems  to  indicate,  as  it  is  on  this  I  much 
depend  for  the  payment  of  your  wheat.  It  was  unquestionably, 
my  intention  that  Mr.  Airess  should  pay  the  taxes  of  the  Tene- 
ment he  holds;  as  an  evidence  of  it  every  Lott  let  at,  and  since 
that  time,  have  been  so  expressed  in  the  Leases:  but  whether  it 
was  declared  in  explicit  terms,  or  even  by  implication  to  him 
at  the  time,  my  memory  does  not  now  serve  me,  and  therefore 
I  will  not  insist  upon  anything  I  am  not  clear  in.  The  term 
for  which  he  is  to  hold  it,  I  recollect  well  is  for  his  own  and  his 
wif es  life,  and  must  be  so  filled. 

As  I  have  only  Mr.  Jenny's  Accot.  of  the  interference  of  lines; 
and  as  Surveyors  fees  (as  established  by  Law)  are  high,  perhaps 
it  might  be  as  well  in  the  first  instance  to  get  the  line  between 

1786]  FAUQUIER  RENTS  377 

Mr.  Scott  and  me  run  by  any  accurate  man  you  can  hire  as 
the  Surveyor  of  the  County,  and  hear  what  he  (Mr.  Scott) 
has  to  say  upon  the  subject.  I  want  nothing  but  justice,  and 
that,  if  to  be  obtained,  I  will  have.  But  if,  upon  the  whole,  you 
find  the  business  cannot  be  so  well  done  by  any  other  as  the 
Surveyor  of  the  County,  I  consent  very  readily  to  your  employ- 
ing him. 

Having  every  reason  to  believe  that  the  clover  seed  which 
you  sent  me  last  fall  was  bad,  I  can  by  no  means  think  of  taking 
more  of  it.  If  my  fears  of  its  not  vegitating  should  be  realized, 
I  would  rather  have  given  £50,  for  a  bushl.  of  good  seed,  than 
encounter  the  disappointment  and  loss  of  time  will  be  conse- 
quent of  it.  I  will  not  absolutely  pronounce  it  bad,  'till  the 
Spring  vegitation  comes  on;  but  I  have  all  the  reason  imag- 
inable to  dread  it.  The  seed  had  from  Philadela.  is  not  import- 
ed, but  the  growth  of  the  Country  and  cheaper  than  Mr.  Ro- 
pers; but  cheapness  was  not  the  point  I  aimed  at,  certainty  was 
my  mark,  and  if  I  have  missed  it,  I  have  lost  a  season  and  my 

Your  letter  of  the  18th.  was  accompanied  with  a  statement 
of  the  Tenements  and  rents  of  my  Land  in  Fauquier  &c.  for 
which  I  am  obliged  to  you.  That  you  will  have  trouble  in  re- 
ducing these  matters  to  order,  I  have  not,  nor  ever  had  any 
doubt  of,  but  they  will  be  plain  and  easy  after  this  year,  which 
will  make  amends;  as  I  am  determined  to  continue  the  collec- 
tion in  the  hands  of  an  agent  who  by  close  attention  will  see 
that  I  have  justice  done  me,  not  only  in  the  punctual  payment 
of  the  rents,  but  that  the  covenants  thereof  are  duly  attended  to 
and  complied  with. 

What  reply  to  make  to  that  part  of  your  letter,  wherein  you 
speak  of  difficulties  which  may  arise  in  case  of  the  death  of 
either  of  us,  in  the  settlement  of  Accots.,  I  know  not:  you  have 


powers  to  act,  and  instructions  how  to  act;  and  I  here  declare 
that  if  neither  of  these  will  comprehend  all  the  cases  which  may 
arise  in  the  prosecution  of  this  business,  my  desire  is  that  you 
would  act  for  me  as  you  would  do  for  yourself:  there  can  be  no 
difficulty  then,  which  I  can  foresee  in  the  case;  for  these  powers, 
these  instructions  and  declaration  will  always  justify  a  conduct 
that  is  not  evidently  fraudulent ;  of  wch.  there  is  not  the  smallest 
suspicion  in  the  present  case.  But  when  time  will  admit  of  it, 
state  the  cases  fully  wherein  directions  are  wanted,  and  my 
sentiments  thereon  shall  be  handed  to  you,  this  will  be  a  fur- 
ther justification  for  your  conduct. 

Inclosed  you  have  copies  of  the  Accots.  handed  in  by  Lewis 
Lamont  and  his  widow,  together  with  copies  of  the  Sheriff's 
receipts,  which  convey  every  information  that  is  in  my  power 
to  give  you  respecting  his  collection.  I  am,  etc.77 


Mount  Vernon,  February  5, 1786. 

Dear  Sir:  The  Vessel  which  brought  the  inclosed,  has  de- 
livered the  800  Bushels  of  Oats  for  which  you  contracted  with 
Mr  Savage.  Besides  these,  I  have  taken  100  more;  for  which  I 
am  to  pay  Flour.  L  Washington  has  taken  anothr.  and  the  re- 
maining 200  hundred  are  taken  to  Alexandria  for  you. 

I  have  engaged  this  man  to  bring  the  Corn  from  York  River. 
He  expects  to  stay  no  longer  than  Monday  (tomorrow)  at 
Alexandria;  if  you  propose  therefore  to  send  wheat  fans  by  him 
to  the  Plantations  below  you  have  no  time  to  loose  in  getting 
them  on  board.  I  hope  Mrs.  Stuart,  to  whom  and  yourself  I 
offer  congratulations  on  the  encrease  of  your  family,  is  quite 
recovered.  With  great  esteem  and  regard  I  am  etc. 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1786]  MR.  LEAR'S  DUTIES  379 

Mrs.  Washington  presents  her  love  to  Mrs.  Stuart  and  wishes 
to  know  how  she  is.78 


Mount  Vernon,  February  6, 1786. 

My  dear  Sir:  Your  favour  of  the  4th.  of  Jany.  never  reached 
me  till  yesterday,  or  the  receipt  of  it  should  have  had  an  earlier 
acknowledgment.  Let  me  in  the  first  place  thank  you  for  your 
kind  attention  to  my  enquiries.  And  in  the  next,  pray  you  to 
learn,  precisely  from  Mr.  Lear,  upon  what  terms  he  would 
come  to  me;  for  I  am  not  inclined  to  leave  matters  of  this  sort 
to  after  discussion,  or  mis-conception.  Whatever  agreement  is 
previously  made,  shall  be  pointedly  fulfilled  on  my  part,  wch. 
will  prevent  every  cause  of  complaint  on  his. 

Mr.  Lear,79  or  any  other  who  may  come  into  my  family  in  the 
blended  characters  of  preceptor  to  the  Children,  and  as  a  Clerk 
or  private  Secretary  to  me,  will  sit  at  my  Table,  will  live  as  I 
live,  will  mix  with  the  Company  which  resort  to  the  Ho.,  and 
will  be  treated  in  every  respect  with  civility,  and  proper  atten- 
tion. He  will  have  his  washing  done  in  the  family,  and  may 
have  his  linnen  and  Stockings  mended  by  the  maids  of  it.  The 
duties  which  will  be  required  of  him  are,  generally,  such  as 
appertain  to  the  offices  before  mentioned.  The  first  will  be  very 
trifling  'till  the  Children  are  a  little  more  advanced;  and  the 
latter  will  be  equally  so  as  my  corrispondencies  decline  (which 
I  am  endeavouring  to  effect) ;  and  after  my  accts;  and  other 
old  matters  are  brought  up.  To  descend  more  minutely  into  his 
avocations  I  am  unable,  because  occasional  matters  may  require 

78  From  a  photostat  of  the  original  through  the  kindness  of  Judge  E.  A.  Armstrong, 
of  Princeton,  N.  J. 

79  Tobias  Lear,  of  Portsmouth,  N.  H.  He  was  employed  by  Washington  as  a  secretary. 


particular  Services;  nothing  however  derogatory  will  be  asked, 
or  expected.  After  this  explanation  of  my  wants,  I  request  Mr. 
Lear  would  mention  the  annual  sum  he  will  expect  for  these 
Services,  and  I  will  give  him  a  decided  answer  by  the  return  of 
the  Stages,  which  now  carry  the  Mail  and  travel  quick.  A  good 
hand,  as  well  as  proper  diction  would  be  a  recommendation; 
on  acct.  of  fair  entries;  and  for  the  benefit  of  the  Children,  who 
will  have  to  copy  after  it. 

The  discovery  of  extracting  fresh  water  from  Salt  Water,  by 
a  simple  process,  and  without  the  aid  of  fire,  will  be  of  amazing 
importance  to  the  Sons  of  Neptune;  if  it  is  not  viciated,  or  ren- 
dered nauseous  by  the  operation;  but  can  be  made  to  answer  all 
the  valuable  purposes  of  other  fresh  water,  at  Sea.  Every  mari- 
time power  in  the  world,  in  this  case,  ought,  in  my  opinion,  to 
offer  some  acknowledgment  to  the  Inventor.  With  sentiments 
of  great  regard  and  friendship  I  am  etc.80 


Mount  Vernon,  February  8, 1786. 

Gentn:  I  have  received  your  favor  of  yesterday,  and  thank 
you  for  your  ready  compliance  with  my  request.  As  soon  as 
my  Boat  returns  from  Alexandria,  I  will  immediately  dispatch 
it  with  25  barrels  of  superfine  flour  for  your  vessel,  for  the  pur- 
pose of  procuring  if  possible  a  she  Ass,  for  my  benefit,  at 

I  should  be  glad  to  know  whether  you  commit  the  negotia- 
tion of  your  own  business  to  the  Captain,  or  consign  it  to  a 

80  From  a  photostat  of  the  original  through  the  kindness  of  Judge  E.  A.  Armstrong, 
of  Princeton,  N.  J. 

81  Merchants  of  Alexandria,  Va. 
62  Dutch  Guiana,  South  America. 

1786]  OATS  AND   CORN  381 

Merchant  of  that  place,  that  I  may  entrust  mine  to  the  same 
person;  and  as  I  shall  have  to  write  to  the  gentleman,  would 
wish  in  the  one  case  or  the  other  to  know  the  name  and 
address  of  the  Consignee. 

If  I  should  not  succeed  in  procuring  the  Ass;  I  will,  if 
equally  agreeable  to  you,  abide  the  sale  of  the  flour  at  Surinam, 
and  receive  the  amount  in  Rum,  Molasses  or  such  other  articles 
as  come  well  from  that  place,  advice  of  which  I  would  thank 
you  for;  but  if  this  should  interfere  in  the  smallest  degree  with 
your  freight,  it  will  be  perfectly  agreeable  to  me  to  have  the 
returns  in  cash.  I  am,  etc.83 


Mount  Vernon,  February  8, 1786. 

Sir:  Your  skipper,  Mr.  Jno.  Whitney,  has  delivered  me  eight 
hundred  bushels  of  oats,  agreeably  to  the  Contract  made  with 
Doctr.  Stuart  in  my  behalf.  They  are  good  and  clean,  for 
which  I  thank  you. 

Mr.  Whitney  informing  me  that  he  was  authorized  to  pro- 
vide a  freight  for  the  Schooner  he  is  in,  I  have  engaged  him  pos- 
itively, to  bring  me  eight  hundred  bushels  of  Indian  corn  from 
the  plantations  of  the  deceased  Mr.  Custis  on  Pamunky  river. 
I  hope  it  is  to  be  had  at  the  lowest  plantation  (a  few  miles  above 
West  Point),  but  of  this  I  am  not  certain.  I  am  to  pay  him  six 
pence  a  bushel  freight,  delivered  at  my  landing. 

I  expect  no  delay  or  disappointment  will  take  place  in  this 
contract,  as  I  have  had  the  offer  of  two  other  vessels  on  the 
same  terms,  and  have  rejected  them  on  account  of  this  engage- 
ment. I  am,  etc.83 

83 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 



Mount  Vernon,  February  10,  1786. 

Gentn :  As  it  is  my  wish  to  obtain  a  she  Ass  of  the  first  kind, 
and  think  it  is  more  in  the  power  of  a  resident  at  Surinam,  than 
it  can  be  in  that  of  the  Captn.  to  procure  such  an  one,  I  have 
written  the  enclosed  letter  to  Mr.  Branden  requesting  him  to 
make  the  purchase  accordingly.  I  hope  the  Captn.  will  ascribe 
this  preference  to  no  other  cause  than  the  one  assigned;  at  the 
same  time  that  I  earnestly  request  his  particular  attention  to 
the  animal,  if  one  should  be  shipped  on  my  account. 

In  case  of  the  failure  in  such  purchase,  I  have  requested  Mr. 
Branden  to  send  the  proceeds  of  the  sales  of  the  flour,  in  Mo- 
lasses and  Coffee.  You  would  oblige  me  by  having  the  flour 
inspected,  properly  marked  for  Mr.  Branden,  and  the  bill  of 
lading  therefor  put  under  cover  with  my  letter  to  that  Gentn., 
as  it  will  save  time  and  trouble.  1  am,  etc.84 


Mount  Vernon,  February  10, 1786. 

Sir:  I  have  lately  received  from  Spain,  a  Jack  Ass  of  the  first 
race  in  the  Kingdom,  and  am  very  desirous  of  availing  myself 
of  his  breed.  Hearing  that  she  Asses  of  good  appearance  are  to 
be  had  at  Surinam,  I  take  the  liberty  of  asking  your  assistance 
to  procure  me  one  of  the  best  kind;  to  be  sent  by  the  return  of 
Captain  Bartlett,  who  will  deliver  this  letter  to  you. 

Neither  the  Captn.,  or  any  body  else  with  whom  I  have  had 
opportunities  of  conversing,  could  tell  me  the  cost  of  one  of 
these  animals  at  Surinam;  but  have  supposed  that  twenty  five 
barrels  of  superfine  flour,  would  be  adequate  to  the  purchase. 
This  quantity  (equal  I  believe  in  quality  to  any  made  in  this 

84 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1786]  BOOTS  AND  SHOES  383 

Country)  I  have  the  honor  of  shipping  to  your  address:  but  if 
it  should  prove  inadequate,  the  deficiency  shall  be  made  up  in 
the  way  most  agreeable  to  yourself.  All  I  pray  is,  that  I  may 
receive  one  of  the  largest  and  best  she  Asses  that  can  be  obtained 
in  your  Country  fit  to  breed  from. 

As  the  Captain  is  commissioned  to  purchase  a  She  Ass  for 
his  owners,  I  should  be  glad,  if  the  Bill  of  lading  for  mine  (if 
one  is  sent  to  me)  may  be  minutely  descriptive  of  her.  I  hope 
every  provision  will  be  made  for  the  accommodation  and  sup- 
port of  her  on  ship  board :  but  if  contrary  to  my  wishes,  and 
a  disappointment  happens,  I  request  in  that  case  that  you 
would  be  so  obliging  as  to  send  me  in  return  for  the  flour,  two 
hogsheads  of  Molasses,  and  the  remainder  in  the  best  CofTee 
of  your  Country. 

If,  in  this  request,  I  have  used  an  unwarrantable  freedom,  it 
proceeds  from  the  good  character  given  of  you  to  me,  by 
Messrs.  Fitzgerald  and  Lyles  of  Alexandria,  by  whose  vessel  I 
write  and  who  have  offered  me  a  passage  for  the  animal. 
I  am,  etc.85 


Mount  Vernon,  February  10, 1786. 

Dear  Sir:  A  hasty  letter  which  I  wrote  to  you  by  Colo.  Gray- 
son, was  accompanied  with  ten  half  Johans.;  the  application  of 
which  I  informed  you  shd.  be  directed  in  a  subsequent  letter.86 
Let  me  now  request  the  favour  of  you  to  send  me  the  following 
articles  if  to  be  had. 

A  pair  of  Boots,  and  two  pair  of  Shoes,  to  be  made  by  Mr. 
Star  (who  has  my  measure)  agreeably  to  the  enclosed  Memo. 

85 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

S8This  letter  was  dated  Jan.  30,  1786.  It  was  very  brief  and  stated  that  "when  I 
have  more  leizure  to  write"  he  would  be  "able  to  mention  the  purposes  for  which 
they  [the  ten  half  Johannes]  are  intended."  This  letter  is  in  the  Historical  Society  of 


Young's  Six  Months  tour  through  England  (his  tour  thro' 
Ireld.  I  have). 

The  Gentleman  Farmer,  by  Henry  Home. 

Tulls  Husbandry.  All  to  be  neatly  bound  and  lettered. 

200  Weight  of  Clover  seed;  to  be  fresh  and  good. 

12  lbs.  of  Saint  foin  seed  I 
6  lbs.  of  the  field  Burnet]      °  ^°° 

A  Common  Hunting  horn  of  the  largest  and  best  sort. 

It  will  readily  occur  to  you,  my  good  Sir,  that  these  Seeds  (as 
they  are  to  be  sown  this  Spring)  cannot  be  forwarded  too  soon. 
I  ought  indeed  to  have  wrote  for  them  at  an  earlier  period,  but 
they  may  yet  arrive  at  a  proper  Season  if  they  are  quickly  dis- 
patched. At  any  rate,  inform  me  if  they  are  to  be  had,  and  the 
prospect  there  is  of  forwarding  them,  for  thereon  will  depend 
my  preparation  of  the  ground. 

The  Gazettes  which  were  furnished  by  Mr.  Dunlap,  for  my 
use,  during  my  Military  appointment,  ought,  undoubtedly  be 
paid  for  by  the  public;  and  I  had  no  doubt  but  that  this  had 
been  done,  regularly,  by  the  Qr  Mr  General  or  his  assistt.  in 
the  State  of  Pensylvania.  If  the  case  is  otherwise,  I  am  ready 
to  give  my  aid  towards  his  obtaining  it.  My  respects  to  Mrs. 
Biddle.  lam, etc. 

I  pray  you  to  be  pointed  with  respt.  to  the  goodness  of  the 
Seeds :  an  imposition  of  bad  seed  is  a  robbery  of  the  worst  kind; 
for  your  pocket  not  only  suffers  by  it  but  your  preparations  are 
lost,  and  a  season  passes  away  unimproved.  lh.s.p.] 


Mount  Vernon,  February  20, 1786. 
Sir:  I  ought  to  have  acknowledged  the  receipt  of  your  letter 
of  the  10th.  sooner,  tho'  I  am  at  a  loss  what  answer  to  give  it 


When  I  sent  to  Boston  for  my  Jack  Ass,  which  was  previous 
to  the  presentation  of  Captn.  Pearce's  order,  tho'  subsequent  to 
the  date  of  it,  I  requested  Mr.  Cushing  (the  Lieut:  Governor) 
to  whose  care  this  animal  was  addressed,  to  pay  all  the  charges 
which  had  accrued  for  freight  and  other  accidental  expences 
attending  the  importation  of  him,  and  to  draw  upon  me  for  the 
amount.  In  consequence,  I  have  answered  a  Draft,  to  Mr.  Tay- 
lor of  your  town,  for  300  Dollars;  and  was  informed  by  Mr. 
Cushing,  by  letter  of  equal  date  with  the  Draft,  that  he  had  not 
at  that  time  been  able  to  obtain  Captn.  Pearce's  Accot.,  but  that 
it  should  be  transmitted  as  soon  as  the  matter  could  be  settled 
with  him.  In  this  way  the  thing  has  lain  ever  since;  Post  after 
Post  I  have  been  looking  for  some  further  advice  respecting  this 
business,  but  hitherto  in  vain.  I  am  ready  at  any  moment  to 
answer  Captn.  Pearce's  demand,  when  it  is  properly  ascertained 
(if  it  has  not  been  already  paid),  but  it  would  be  inconvenient 
for  me  to  advance  the  money  twice :  of  this,  I  think  both  Mr. 
Shaw  and  L.  Washington  were  requested  some  time  ago  to  in- 
form you,  for  if  the  300  Dollars  has  not,  in  part,  been  appro- 
priated to  the  payment  of  Captn.  Pearce's  demand,  I  know  not 
for  what  purpose  the  order  was  drawn  upon  me.  All  the  other 
charges  did  not  amount  to  more  than  one  third  of  that  sum. 

I  depended  so  much  upon  others  to  enquire  into  the  usual 
freight  of  a  horse  from  London  to  this  Country,  as  not,  hither- 
to, to  have  taken  any  steps  myself,  to  obtain  information ;  and 
it  is  to  be  feared  none  has  been  taken  either  by  Mr.  Shaw  or 
L.  W.,  nor  do  I  know  at  this  moment  where  to  direct  my 

I  am  thankful  for  your  attention  to  my  request  respecting  the 
Buck  Wheat  and  Flax  seeds,  and  shall  be  glad  to  know  when 
they  arrive,  as  I  wish  to  secure  all  my  Seeds  for  Spring  sowing, 
in  time.  I  am,  etc.87 

87 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers, 



Mount  Vernon,  February  21, 1786. 

Sir:  Your  Letter  of  the  17th.  did  not  get  to  my  hands  'till  yes- 
terday, or  it  should  have  received  an  earlier  acknowledgment. 

Mr.  Herbert  either  mistook  me,  or  Messrs.  Valk,  Berger  and 
Schouter  have  misunderstood  him.:  for  acquainting  the  former 
that  a  company  of  which  I  am  a  member,  was  desirous  of  my 
employing  a  number  of  hands  to  drain  the  great  Dismal  Swamp 
near  Norfolk,  and  that  I  had  been  requested  by  it  to  enquire 
upon  what  terms  two  or  three  hundred  Palatines  or  Hollanders 
could  be  imported  for  that  purpose;  his  opinion  being  asked, 
he  answered  that  he  should  see  Messrs.  Valk,  Beyer  and  Schou- 
ter in  a  few  days,  (for  he  was  then  on  the  eve  of  a  journey  to 
Boston)  and  would  know  from  them,  or  advised  me  to  apply 
to  them  (I  do  not  now  recollect  which)  to  obtain  knowledge  of 
the  practicability  and  convenience  of  this  measure.  All  I  aimed 
at  was  information  myself;  and  if  the  above  gentlemen  can 
give  it  to  me,  it  would  oblige  me.  The  Company  would  wish 
to  know  upon  what  terms  they,  or  any  others,  in  their  opin- 
ion would  engage  to  deliver  300  able  labourers,  Germans  or 
Hollanders,  not  more  than  eight  women,  at  Norfolk.  Whether 
these  would  come  under  Indenture,  and  for  what  term,  or  upon 
wages,  and  what.  In  a  word  what  they  would  stand  the  Com- 
pany pr.  poll,  in  either  case,  delivered  at  Norfolk,  freight,  pro- 
curing them,  and  every  accidental  expence  included,  to  the 
moment  of  such  delivery  at  the  Ship's  side.  I  am,  etc.88 


Mount  Vernon,  February  26, 1786. 
Sir:  Your  favor  of  the  16th.  of  Decemr.  (tho'  some  what 
delayed)  came  safely  to  hand. 

8SFrom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

1786]  A   CHARACTER  387 

The  pictures  arrived  shortly  after  in  good  order,  and  meet 
the  approbation  of  Mrs.  Washington  and  myself,  the  first  of 
whom  thanks  you  for  the  portrait  of  Fanny  Washington,  with 
which  you  have  been  so  polite  as  to  present  her:  She  with  the 
Major  are  on  a  visit  to  her  friends  in  the  lower  parts  of  this 
State,  and  have  been  so  since  the  middle  of  December. 

It  is  some  time  since  I  requested  a  Gentleman  of  Annapolis 
(who  is  owing  me  money  and  was  to  have  sent  it  to  me)  to  pay 
you  Twenty  guineas  and  sixteen  Dollars;  the  first  for  balance 
due  on  the  pictures,  the  latter  for  their  frames;  but  having 
heard  nothing  from  him  respecting  it,  I  begin  to  suspect  it 
never  has  been  done,  and  therefore  send  these  sums  by  Mr. 
Hunter  of  Alexandria. 

I  have  lately  received  a  Letter  from  our  old  and  worthy 
acquaintance  Colo.  Fairfax,  who  again  mentions  you  in  terms 
of  great  regard.  Mrs.  Washington  unites  her  best  wishes  to  me 
for  you,  on  congratulations  on  the  safe  arrival  of  Mrs.  Pine  &ca. 
With  great  esteem  I  am,  etc.89 


Mount  Vernon,  February  27, 1786. 

Sir:  At  the  request  of  Mr.  Booth90 1  give  you  the  trouble  of 
this  Letter :  this  request,  added  to  an  inclination  to  do  justice, 
must  be  my  apology  for  it.  I  have  no  other  motive  than  to 
rescue  his  character  from  the  injurious  aspersions,  which  he  says 
have  been  cast  at  it. 

My  acquaintance  with  Mr.  Booth  is  of  more  than  thirty  years 
standing.  I  have  known  him  in  the  characters  of  Bachelor, 
Husband  and  widower,  in  all  of  which  conduct  has  been  unex- 
ceptionable. In  that  of  husband  and  father  it  was  ever  esteemed 

89 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
90  William  Booth,  of  Westmoreland  County,  Va. 


kind,  affectionate  and  remarkably  indulgent.  In  a  word  he  has 
passed  thro'  life  unimpeached  by  those  who  have  had  the 
best  opportunities  of  forming  a  judgment  of  him,  and  to  my  best 
knowledge  and  belief  has  in  every  instance  supported  the  char- 
acter of  a  Gentleman. 
I  am,  etc.91 


Mount  Vernon,  February  27,  1786. 

Sir:  Mr.  Shaw  informing  me  of  your  intended  journey  to 
Philadelphia,  I  take  the  freedom  of  asking  you  to  carry  Twenty 
guineas,  and  Sixteen  Dollars  for  Mr.  Pine  the  Portrait  Painter; 
whom  you  will  find  at  Baltimore  or  Philadelphia,  at  Col  Rogers's 
if  in  the  former,  and  at  the  Slade  House,  if  at  the  latter. 

Be  so  good  as  to  take  his  rect.  for  the  money;  but  previous  to 
paying  it,  ask  if  this  sum  has  not  been  offered  by  Mr.  Jno.  F. 
Mercer.  This  Gentleman  is  owing  me  money  and  out  of  it,  was 
requested  to  pay  the  above  sums  whilst  Mr.  Pine  was  at  An- 
napolis; but  having  no  acct.  of  the  compliance  it  is  questionable, 
his  having  done  it. 

The  bearer  will  deliver  you  the  above  sums,  I  wish  you  a 
pleasant  journey  and  safe  return  and,  with  esteem  and  regard 
am  etc.92 


Mount  Vernon,  March  5, 1786. 
Sir:  Your  Excellency's  favor  of  the  6th.  ulto.  came  duly  to 
hand,  but  I  had  no  opportunity  before  the  2d.  inst:  of  laying 
it  before  the  Directors  of  the  Potomac  Company. 

From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
02 From  a  copy  of  the  original  kindly  furnished  by  W.  L.  R.  Gifford,  librarian  of 
the  St.  Louis  Mercantile  Library  Association.  St.  Louis.  Mo. 

1786]  A  HERRING  CONTRACT  389 

By  the  Board,  I  am  desired  to  inform  your  Excelly.,  that  they 
decline  taking  the  six  felons  in  the  public  Goal ;  at  the  same 
time  that  they  feel  themselves  obliged  by  the  offer.93  I  have  the 
honor,  etc.94 


Mount  Vernon,  March  6, 1786. 

Dr.  Sir :  The  Treasurer  of  the  Potomack  Company  being  de- 
sired by  the  Directors  of  it  to  send  a  careful  hand  to  Annapolis 
for  the  advance  due  on  the  State  subscription;  I  pray  you  to  pay 
the  Bearer  (who  will  be  that  person)  the  ,£200,  for  which  you 
requested  me  to  draw  on  you  at  that  place.  I  am,  etc. 

P.  S.  Since  writing  to  you  the  30th.  of  Jany.  on  this  subject,  I 
have  myself  sent  the  20  guineas  &c.  to  Mr.  Pine.94 

To  JOHN  MURRAY  &  CO.95 

Mount  Vernon,  March  8, 1786. 
Gentn:  Your  letter  of  the  6th.  in  answer  to  mine  of  the  same 
date,  is  before  me ;  but  from  the  present  view  I  have  of  the  sub- 
ject, I  do  not  conceive  that  my  entering  into  a  Contract  for 
Herrings  on  the  terms  offered  by  you,  would  be  eligible;  1st. 
because  in  my  judgment,  you  estimate  them  too  low,  lower  than 
they  usually  sell  for  at  the  landings.  2dly.  because  your  Salt  is 
rated  higher  than,  I  believe  it  is  to  be  bought  for,  more  than  I 
have  lately  given.  3dly.  because  Liverpool  Salt  is  inadequate  to 
the  saving  of  Fish,  and  therefore  useless  in  this  business.  4thly. 
because  I  would  not,  on  any  terms,  go  to  Dumfries  for  this  Ar- 
ticle; and  fifthly,  because  it  does  not  suit  me  to  receive  Salt  alone 
in  paymt. 

83 Governor  Henry's  letter  is  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
84 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
93  Of  Alexandria,  Va. 


Moreover,  if  your  coarse  salt  is  allum  or  lump  Salt,  I  con- 
ceive it  must  be  reduced  by  pounding,  before  it  can  be  applied, 
which  would  add  to  the  expence  of  curing.  Lisbon  is  the  proper 
kind  of  Salt  for  Fish. 

From  these  considerations  I  must  decline  contracting  to  fur- 
nish Herring  unless  you  are  disposed  to  offer  more  favourable 
terms.  I  am,  etc.90 


Mount  Vernon,  March  8, 1786. 

Sir :  I  have  just  received  your  letter  of  the  20th.  of  last  month, 
and  request  that  you  will  proceed  as  you  have  begun,  that  is,  to 
do  equal  and  impartial  justice  to  the  Tenants  and  myself.  I 
want  no  improper  advantage  of  them  on  the  one  hand :  on  the 
other,  where  leases  are  clearly  forfeited,  by  a  manifest  intention 
on  the  part  of  the  Tenant  to  neglect  all  the  Covenants  in  them, 
that  were  inserted  for  my  benefit;  and  their  sole  aim  has  been 
to  make  traffic  of  the  Land,  I  shall  have  no  scruple  in  getting 
them  aside,  and  beginning  afresh  upon  the  best  rents  I  can  get 
for  ten  years. 

At  any  rate,  it  is  my  wish  that  you  would  be  as  attentive  to 
the  other  Covenants  of  the  Leases,  as  to  that  which  exacts  the 
rent:  particularly  to  those  which  require  a  certain  proportion 
of  wood-Land  to  be  left  standing  in  one  place,  to  orchards,  to 
Meadows,  and  to  buildings.  These  were  as  much  objects  with 
me,  as  the  Rent,  nay  more,  because  to  these  I  looked,  to  have 
the  value  of  my  land  enhanced,  whilst  I  was,  in  the  first  in- 
stance, contenting  myself  with  low  Rents.  If  therefore,  these 
have  passed  off  unnoticed  by  the  Tenants,  it  should  be  punished 
equally  with  the  non-payment  of  Rents.  I  mention  these  things 
because  it  is  my  wish  they  should  be  strictly  complied  with. 

80 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


There  is  another  matter,  or  two  which,  in  renting  my  Lands, 
I  am  desirous  you  should  always  keep  in  view,  first,  to  lease  to 
no  person  who  has  Lands  of  his  own  adjoining  them;  and  2dly. 
to  no  one  who  does  not  propose  to  live  on  the  premises.  My 
reasons  are  these,  in  the  first  case  my  Land  will  be  cut  down, 
worked  and  destroyed  to  save  his  own,  whilst  the  latter  will 
receive  all  the  improvements.  In  the  second  case,  if  the  Tenant 
does  not  live  thereon  it  will  not  meet  a  much  better  fate,  and 
negro  Quarters  and  Tobacco  pens  will  probably  be  the  best 
edifices  of  the  Tenement.  One  Grigg  (I  think  his  name  is)  an 
overseer  to  Colo.  John  Washington,97  must  be  an  exception,  be- 
cause, at  the  instance  of  my  Brother,  I  consented  to  the  purchase 
he  has  made. 

Inclosed  you  have  a  Letter  for  Mr.  Robt.  Rutherford,  of  whom 
you  will  endeavor  to  receive  the  amount  of  the  within.  If  you 
should  succeed  in  this,  you  may  carry  it  to  my  credit  and  draw 
a  commission  thereon  as  if  collected  for  rent.  I  also  send  you  an 
Account  against  a  Captn.  David  Kennedy  (I  believe  of  Win- 
chester) to  receive  if  you  can,  on  the  same  terms.  I  put  this 
accot.  about  eighteen  months  ago  into  the  hands  of  Genl.  Mor- 
gan to  whom  Kennedy  had,  I  believe,  made  sale  of  a  Lott  in 
Winchester,  but  know  not  to  what  effect.  It  may  be  well  to 
enquire  of  Morgan  concerning  it,  previous  to  an  application 
to  Kennedy.  I  am,  etc.98 


Mount  Vernon,  March  10, 1786. 
Sir:  For  the  honor  you  have  done  me  in  calling  your  only 
child  by  my  name,  and  that  too,  you  add,  when  the  issue  of  the 

97  John  Augustine  Washington. 
sFrom  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

392  WRITINGS  OF   WASHINGTON         [March 

American  struggle  stood  suspended.  I  pray  you  to  accept  my 
best  acknowledgments. 

My  thanks  are  also  due  for  your  politeness  in  sending  me  a 
piece  of  Linen  of  your  staple  manufacture :  and  I  am  particu- 
larly indebted  to  you  for  the  favourable  wishes  and  flattering 
expressions  of  your  letter  to  me  of  the  4th.  of  August  last. 

Your  Country  has  my  best  wishes  for  the  fullest  of  every- 
thing which  is  interesting  to  the  rights  of  mankind,  and  you 
Sir,  that  you  may  be  principal  sharer  of  them,  being,  Your  etc." 


Mount  Vernon,  March  10, 1786. 

Sir:  Your  Letter  of  the  6th.  inst:  is  this  moment  put  into  my 
hands;  was  it  in  my  power  I  would  cheerfully  answer  your 
queries  respecting  the  settlements  on  the  Kanhawa;  the  nature 
of  the  water  and  quality  of  the  soil. 

But  of  the  first,  I  only  know  from  information  that  Colo. 
Lewis  is  settled  there :  from  his  own  mouth  I  learnt  that  it  was 
his  intention  to  do  so,  and  to  establish  a  Town  in  the  fork  of  the 
two  rivers,  where  he  proposed  to  fix  families  in  the  vicinity  on 
his  own  Lands.  Of  the  second,  I  never  could  obtain  any  distinct 
account  of  the  navigation.  It  has  been  variously  represented; 
favorably  by  some,  extremely  difficult  by  others,  in  its  passage 
thro'  the  Gauley  mountain,  (which  I  presume  is  the  Laurel 
hill) :  but  the  uncertainty  of  this  matter  will  now  soon  be  at  an 
end,  as  there  are  commissioners  appointed  by  this  State  to  ex- 
plore the  navigation  of  that  river  and  the  communication  be- 
tween it  and  James  river,  with  a  view  to  a  portage.  This,  equally 
with  the  extension  of  the  Potomac  navigation,  was  part  of  my 
original  plan,  and  equally  urged  by  me  to  our  Assembly;  for 

"From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


my  object  was  to  connect  the  Western  and  Eastern  or  Atlantic 
States  together  by  strong  commercial  ties. 

I  am  a  friend,  therefore  on  this  principle  to  every  channel 
that  can  be  opened,  and  wish  the  people  to  have  choice.  The 
Kanhawa,  and  James  river,  if  the  obstacles  in  the  former  are 
not  great,  are  certainly  the  shortest  and  best  for  the  settlers 
thereon,  for  those  on  the  Ohio  below,  above,  perhaps  as  high 
as  the  little  Kanhawa  and  for  the  Country  immediately  west  of  it. 

The  Monongahela  and  Yohoghaney  with  the  Potomac  are 
most  convenient  for  all  the  settlers  from  the  little  Kanhawa, 
inclusively,  to  Fort  Pitt  and  upwards,  and  west  as  far  as  the 
Lakes.  Susquehanna  and  the  Alleghany  above  Fort  Pitt  some 
distance,  will  accommodate  a  third  District  of  Country;  and 
may  for  ought  I  know,  be  equally  convenient  to  the  trade  of 
the  Lakes.  All  of  them  therefore  have  my  best  wishes;  for  as  I 
have  observed  already,  my  object  and  my  aim  are  political.  If 
we  cannot  bind  those  people  to  us  by  interest,  and  it  is  no  other- 
wise to  be  effected  but  by  a  commercial  knot,  we  shall  be  no 
more  to  them  after  a  while,  than  G.  Britain  or  Spain,  and  they 
may  be  as  closely  linked  with  one  or  other  of  those  powers,  as 
we  wish  them  to  be  with  us,  and  in  that  event,  they  may  be  a 
severe  thorn  in  our  side. 

With  respect  to  the  nature  of  the  soil  on  the  Kanhawa,  the 
bottoms  are  fine,  but  the  lands  adjoining  are  broken.  In  some 
places  the  hills  are  very  rich,  in  others  piney  and  very  poor: 
but  the  principal  reason,  as  I  conceive,  why  the  settlement  has 
not  progressed  more,  is  that  the  greater  part  if  not  all  the  good 
Lands,  on  the  main  river,  are  in  the  hands  of  persons  who  do 
not  incline  to  reside  thereon  themselves,  and  possibly  hold  them 
too  high  for  others,  as  there  is  a  surrounding  country  open  to 
them;  this  I  take  to  be  my  own  case,  and  might  be  an  induce- 
ment to  concur  in  any  well  concerted  measures  to  further  a 

394  WRITINGS  OF   WASHINGTON         [March 

settlement,  which  might  ultimately,  not  at  too  great  a  distance, 
subserve  my  interest  in  that  quarter. 

The  Great  Kanhawa  is  a  long  river  with  very  little  interrup- 
tion for  a  considerable  distance :  No  very  large  waters  empty 
into  it,  I  believe;  Elk  river,  Coal  river  and  a  Creek  called  Poki- 
tellico  below  the  falls,  and  Green  river  above  them,  are  the  most 
considerable.  I  am  glad  to  hear  that  the  Susquehanna  canal  is 
so  well  advanced.  I  thank  you  for  the  offer  of  Mr.  Nielson's 
services  in  the  western  country,  and  am,  with  very  great,  &c. 


Mount  Vernon,  March  25, 1786. 

Sir :  The  Letter  which  you  did  me  the  honor  to  write  to  me 
on  the  23d.  of  November  last,  came  safely;  tho'  not  at  so  early  a 
period  as  might  have  been  expected  from  the  date  of  it.  I  re- 
mark this  by  way  of  apology  for  my  silence  'till  now. 

I  feel  very  sensibly,  the  honor  conferred  on  me  by  the  South 
Carolina  Society  for  promoting  and  improving  agriculture  and 
other  rural  concerns,  by  unanimously  electing  me  the  first  hon- 
orary member  of  that  Body;  and  I  pray  you  Sir,  as  Chairman, 
to  offer  my  best  acknowledgements  and  thanks  for  this  mark  of 
its  attention.  To  you,  for  the  flattering  terms  in  which  the  desires 
of  the  Society  have  been  communicated,  my  thanks  are  particu- 
larly due. 

It  is  much  to  be  wished  that  every  State  in  the  Union  would 
establish  a  Society  similar  to  this;  and  that  these  Societies 
would  correspond  with,  and  fully  and  regularly  impart  to  each 
other,  the  result  of  the  experiments  actually  made  in  husbandry 
together  with  such  other  useful  discoveries  as  have  stood,  or  are 
likely  to  stand  the  test  of  investigation.  Nothing  in  my  opinion 
would  contribute  more  to  the  welfare  of  these  States,  than  the 

1786]  ABSENTEE  TENANTS  395 

proper  management  of  our  Lands;  and  nothing,  in  this  State 
particularly,  seems  to  be  less  understood.  The  present  mode  of 
cropping  practised  among  us,  is  destructive  to  landed  property ; 
and  must,  if  persisted  in  much  longer,  ultimately  ruin  the  holders 
of  it.  I  have  the  honor,  etc.1 


Mount  Vernon,  March  27, 1786. 

Dear  Brother :  Your  letter  of  the  17th  did  not  reach  me  till 
yesterday  afternoon.  Whence  your  overseers  apprehensions 
proceed,  I  know  not;  for  if  I  recollect  right,  I  gave  him,  myself, 
assurances  of  the  plan  when  I  was  in  Berkeley  in  the  fall  of 
1784;  and  since,  have  informed  Mr.  Muse  that  he  was  to  receive 
a  confirmation  of  the  lease.  It  is  true  that,  being  a  nonresident 
on  the  Lott  he  would  have  been  excluded,  had  it  not  been  for 
the  communication  of  your  wishes,  that  he  might  have  it,  ante- 
cedant  to  the  above  period;  because,  for  reasons  which  will 
readily  occur  to  you,  I  had  established  it  as  a  maxim  to  accept 
no  Tenants  that  did  not  mean  to  reside  on  the  Land;  or  who 
had  land  of  their  own  adjoining  to  it,  not  expecting,  in  either 
case,  much  improvement  on,  or  much  justice  to  mine  under 
these  circumstances. 

At  the  time  I  sent  you  the  flour  that  was  manufactured  at  my 
Mill,  I  requested  to  be  informed  if  you  could  tell  me  where 
corn  was  to  be  had  in  your  parts,  or  within  your  knowledge; 
but  having  received  no  answer  to  that  letter,  nor  any  one  from 
you  since,  till  the  one  above  acknowledged;  I  sent  to  York 
River  for  200  Barr.,  which  I  have  just  landed.  I  do  not  there- 
fore stand  in  need  of  that  at  the  little  Falls  Quarter. 

1From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 

396  WRITINGS  OF  WASHINGTON         [March 

Herewith  you  will  receive  an  Alexandria  Gazette  containing 
a  demd.  upon  the  subscribers  to  the  Potomack  Navigation  for 
two  other  dividends  for  carrying  on  the  work,  which  the  direc- 
tors mean  to  do  with  spirit;  and  they  hope  to  good  effect  this 
summer.  It  also  contains  an  address  from  Mr.  Stoddart  to 
Messrs.  Washington  &  Co.  the  first  of  whom  I  hope  has,  'ere 
this,  seen  the  impropriety  of  hazarding  a  valuable  estate  upon 
so  precarious  a  tenure  as  trade  and  either  has,  already,  or  soon 
will  withdraw  himself  from  it.  I  beg  when  you  see  him,  that 
you  will  give  my  love  and  thanks  to  him,  for  the  fruit  trees  he 
sent  me,  which  came  safe,  and  were  a  very  valuable  present. 

All  here  join  most  cordially,  in  every  good  wish  for  you,  my 
sister  and  family,  and  with  every  sentiment  of  regard  and 
affection  I  am  ever  yrs.2 


Mount  Vernon,  March  30, 1786. 

Dr.  Sir :  Having  cause  lately,  to  apprehend  a  miscarriage  of 
the  letter,  of  which  the  enclosed  is  a  duplicate,  I  do  myself  the 
honor  of  forwarding  this  copy  as  the  best  apology  as  I  can  make 
for  a  silence  that  might  otherwise  be  ascribed  to  inattention, 
which  would  give  me  pain,  as  I  have  pleasure  in  your  corre- 
spondences, and  would  wish  to  keep  up  a  friendly  intercourse 
with  you  by  letter. 

As  your  last  letters  gave  me  hopes  of  seeing  you  in  Virginia 
this  Spring,  and  nothing  since  has  contradicted  it,  I  think  I 
may  shortly  look  for  that  pleasure,  and  therefore  shall  add 
nothing  more  in  this  letter  than  my  best  wishes  for  the  pleas- 

2 The  text  is  from  a  typed  copy  of  the  original,  in  the  possession  of  Mrs.  John  A. 
Thomson,  of  Winchester,  Va.,  furnished  through  the  kindness  of  C.  Vernon  Eddy, 
librarian  of  the  Hendley  Library,  Winchester,  Va. 

1786]  POTOMAC  LOCKS  397 

antness  of  your  voyage,  and  assurances  of  the  happiness  I  shall 
derive  from  saluting  you  under  my  own  roof;  being,  with 
every  sentiment  of  esteem  and  regard  Dr.  Sir  Yr.,  etc.3 


Mount  Vernon,  March  31, 1786. 

Gentn.:  Yesterday  Mr.  Brindley,  in  company  with  a  Mr. 
Harris,  Manager  for  the  James  river  Company  (the  latter  hav- 
ing been  sent  for  the  former,  by  the  Directors  thereof)  left  this 
on  their  way  to  Richmond,  from  whence  Mr.  Brindley  expects 
to  be  returned,  as  far  as  Alexandria,  in  seven  days  from  the  date 
hereof.  I  have  engaged  him  to  call  upon  Colo.  Gilpin  on  his 
rout  back. 

Mr.  Brindley  and  Mr.  Harris  took  the  great  Falls  in  their 
way  down  and  both  approve  of  the  present  line  for  our  Canal: 
the  first  very  much;  he  conceives  that  9/ioths  of  the  expence  of 
the  one  fifth  proposed,  will  be  saved  by  this  cut;  the  work  alto- 
gether as  secure,  and  the  entrance  into  the  river  by  no  means 
unfavorable.  He  thinks  however  that  a  good  deal  of  attention 
and  judgment  is  required  in  fixing  Locks  there;  the  height  of 
which  he  observes  is  always  governed  by  the  ground;  they  fre- 
quently run  from  four  to  eighteen  feet,  and  some  times  are  as 
high  as  twenty  four. 

The  nature  and  declination  of  the  ground,  according  to  him, 
is  alone  to  direct,  and  where  this  will  admit  he  thinks  the  larger 
the  Locks  are  made  the  better,  because  more  convenient. 

With  respect  to  this  part  of  the  business  I  feel,  and  always 
have  confessed  an  entire  incompetency :  nor  do  I  conceive  that 
theoretical  knowledge  alone  is  adequate  to  the  undertaking. 
Locks,  upon  the  most  judicious  plan,  will  certainly  be  expen- 
sive; and  if  not  properly  constructed  and  judiciously  placed, 

3 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


may  be  altogether  useless.  It  is  for  these  reasons  therefore  that 
I  have  frequently  suggested  (though  no  decision  has  been  had) 
the  propriety  of  employing  a  professional  man. 

Whether  the  expense  of  obtaining  one  in,  and  bringing  him 
from  Europe  has  been  thought  unnecessary,  or  too  burthen- 
some  for  the  advantages,  which  are  to  be  expected,  I  know  not: 
but  as  it  is  said  no  person  in  this  country  has  more  practical 
knowledge  than  Mr.  Brindley,  I  submit  to  your  consideration 
the  propriety  of  engaging  him  to  take  the  Falls  in  his  way  back ; 
to  examine,  level  and  digest  a  plan  for  Locks  at  that  place;  if  it 
shall  appear  good,  and  his  reasons  in  support  of  the  spots  and 
sizes  conclusive  it  will  justify  the  adoption;  if  palpably  erro- 
neous, there  is  no  obligation  upon  us  to  follow  him;  and  the  ex- 
pence  in  that  case  [is  the  only  evil  which  can  result  from  it. 
this  for  the  chance  of  a  probable  benefit,  I  am  not  only  willing, 
but  desirous  of  encountering;  and  if  Colo.  Gilpin  has  not 
already  made  the  trip  to  that  place  which  he  proposed  at  our 
last  visit,  and  disappointment  there,  it  would  give  me  great 
pleasure  if  it  could  be  so  timed  as  for  him  to  accompany  Mr. 
Brindley.  This  would  not  only  give  countenance  to  the  latter, 
but  afford  him  aid  also;  and  might  be  a  mean  of  preventing  the 
little  jealousies  which  otherwise  might  arise  in  the  minds  of 
our  own  managers.  Taking  Mr.  Brindley  to  the  works  now, 
may,  ultimately,  save  expence;  at  the  same  time,  having  a  plan 
before  us,  would  enable  us  at  all  convenient  times,  to  be  provid- 
ing materials  for  its  execution.  I  am,  &c. 

P.  S.  If  my  proposition  is  acceded  to,  it  might  be  well  to  fix, 
at  once  what  shall  be  given  to  Mr.  Brindley.  I  will  readily  sub- 
scribe to  what  you  two  Gentlemen  may  agree  to  give  him  on 
this  occasion]4 

4 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Tapers.  The  part  in  brackets 
is  from  a  facsimile,  in  Washington's  writing,  in  the  University  of  California  Chron- 
icle, October,  1925,  where  a  note  is  added  by  Washington,  April  2,  explaining  the 
delay  in  sending  the  letter. 

1786]  THE  SPANISH  JACK  399 


Mount  Vernon,  April  i,  1786. 

Sir:  I  have  been  favored  with  a  letter  from  you  (without 
place  or  date)  accompanying  the  Conquest  of  Canaan;5  for 
both  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  grateful  thanks,  and  the  acknowl- 
edgment of  the  honor  you  have  done  me  by  the  dedication. 

Your  fears  with  respect  to  the  merits  of  the  Poem,  I  hope  are 
removed,  for  it  is  a  pleasing  performance,  and  meets  the  appro- 
bation of  all  who  have  read  it.  I  have  never  had  an  opportunity 
of  subscribing  to  the  work,  or  I  should  have  done  it  with 

With  very  great  esteem  and  respect  I  am,  etc.6 


Mount  Vernon,  April  5, 1786. 

Dr.  Sir:  I  have  now  the  honor  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of 
your  several  favors  of  the  6th.  9th.  and  16th.  of  Novr.  and  22d. 
of  Feby.  I  purposely  delayed  my  acknowledgements  of  the  first 
three,  'till  I  should  receive  the  one  promised  therein,  that  I 
might  give  you  no  more  trouble  with  my  concerns  than  was 

I  feel  myself  under  great  obligation  to  you  for  your  obliging 
and  disinterested  attention  to  my  Jack;  and  for  your  kindness 
to  the  person  who  was  sent  to  conduct  him  home:  he,  the 
Spaniard,  and  the  Jack  Ass  all  arrived  safely,  and  in  as  short 
a  time  as  could  well  have  been  expected  from  the  great  dis- 
tance, and  manner  of  their  traveling. 

Your  Draft  on  me  in  favor  of  Messrs.  Isaac  and  William 
Smith,  was  paid  the  moment  it  was  presented;  and  I  have  since 

"An  epic  poem  in  n  books,  published  in  1785. 

6 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


paid  Captn.  Pearce's  Accot.,  but  not  to  the  amount  of  his  order 
in  favor  of  a  Mr.  Hartshorne  Mercht.  in  Alexandria :  for  I  be- 
lieve Captn.  Pearce  was  ashamed  himself  of  his  charges  after 
they  were  made,  as  he  requested  the  above  Gentleman,  in  a 
second  letter,  to  receive  whatever  should  be  thought  right.  Mr. 
Hartshorne  therefore,  adding  for  the  full  passage  of  the  Jack, 
made  the  A/c.  of  Mr.  Ashton,  in  other  respects,  his  govern- 
ment for  the  residue  and  instead  of  demanding  ,£63.5.6.  was 
content  to  receive  ,£33.3.6.  and  thought  it  enough.  You  have,  I 
am  persuaded,  hit  upon  the  true  and  only  reason  why  Captn. 
Pearce  withheld  his  Accot.  from  your  examination;  preferring 
to  send  it  hither,  exorbitant  as  it  appeared  from  the  face  of  it, 
rather  than  have  entered  into  any  dispute  concerning  it,  I  should 
have  paid  it  had  I  not  waited  a  while  to  learn  the  result  of  your 

Mrs.  Washington  joins  me  in  respectful  compliments  to  your- 
self and  Lady,  and  with  sentiments  of  great  esteem  and  regard, 
I  am,7 


Mount  Vernon,  April  5,  1786. 
Sir:  The  Revd.  Mr.  Griffith 8  who  will  present  this  letter  to 
you  is  possessed  of  much  property  in  the  town  of  Alexandria, 
the  value  of  which  he  is  desireous  of  encreasing  by  buildings. 
To  enable  him  to  do  this  he  wishes  to  borrow  on  interest,  about 
^2500.  As  security  for  such  a  loan,  he  is  willing  to  mortgage 
his  interest  in  the  above  place,  and  proposes  as  a  further  secu- 
rity to  offer  other  means;  the  nature  of  all  he  will  explain  to 
you.  They  are  in  my  opinion  amply  sufficient,  such  as  I  should 

7 From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 
8  Rev.  David  Griffith. 

17861  POTOMAC  LOCKS  401 

not  hesitate  to  take  if  I  had  the  money  to  lend ;  but  you  will  be 
able  to  judge  more  fully  of  the  matter,  when  they  are  laid 
before  you. 

From  a  long  and  intimate  acquaintance  with  Mr.  Griffith, 
I  have  a  high  opinion  of  his  worth  and  entire  dependance  on 
his  representations,  which  (as  he  may  in  some  degree  be  a 
stranger  to  you)  I  have  thought  an  act  of  justice  to  mention.9 
I  am,  etc.10 


Mount  Vernon,  April  5, 1786. 

My  Dr.  Sir:  Ascribe  my  silence  to  any  cause  rather  than  a 
want  of  friendship,  or  to  a  disclination  to  keep  up  a  friendly 
intercourse  with  you,  by  letter.  Absences  from  home,  hurry 
of  business,  Company  &c,  however  justly  they  might  be  of- 
fered, are  too  stale  and  common  place  to  be  admitted.  I  there- 
fore discard  them;  throwing  myself  upon  your  lenity,  and 
depending  more  upon  your  goodness,  than  on  any  apology  I 
can  make  as  an  excuse  for  not  having  acknowledged  the  re- 
ceipt of  your  favours  of  the  16th.  of  Feby.  and  2d.  of  March, 
before  this  time. 

The  first  came  to  hand  just  after  I  had  made  one  trip  to  our 
works  at  the  great  Falls  of  this  River;  and  when  I  was  upon 
the  eve  of  another  to  the  same  place,  where  the  Board  of  Di- 
rectors by  appointment  met  the  first  of  last  month.  I  can  there- 
fore inform  you  from  my  own  observation,  that  this  business 
is  progressing  in  a  manner  that  exceeds  our  most  sanguine 
expectation,  difficulties  vanish  as  we  proceed,  the  time  and 
expence  which  it  was  supposed  we  should  have  to  encounter 

9  As  printed  from  the  letter  sent,  in  the  Long  Island  Historical  Society  Memoirs 
(vol.  4),  the  text  varies  in  minor  verbal  details  from  this  letter. 
10From  the  "Letter  Book"  copy  in  the  Washington  Papers. 


at  this  place,  will  both  be  considerably  reduced.  After  a  thor- 
ough investigation  of  the  ground  there  we  have  departed  from 
Ballandine's  rout  for  the  Canal,  and  marked  a  fresh  cut,  which 
in  our  judgments  will  save  4/5th.  of  the  labour,  consequently 
proportionate  time  and  expence,  and  in  the  opinion  of  Mr. 
Brindley  who  has  just  been  to  see  it,  9/ioths.,  and  be  equally 
good  when  effected.  Upon  the  whole,  to  be  laconic,  if  there 
are  any  doubts  remaining  of  the  success  of  this  work,  they 
must  be  confined  to  three  classes  of  men,  viz :  those  who  have 
not  opportunities  of  investigations,  who  will  not  be  at  the 
trouble  of  doing  it  when  it  is  in  their  power,  and  those  whose 
interests  being  opposed,  do  not  wish  to  be  convinced.  The 
great  Fall  is  the  only  place  where,  under  our  present  view  of 
the  River,  we  conceive  it  necessary  to  establish  Locks;  the 
ground  favors  them,  and  there  can  be  no  doubt  (this  being 
the  case)  of  Locks  succeeding  as  well  in  this  as  in  other  Coun- 
tries, as  the  materials  for  erecting  them  are  abundant.  What 
difficulties  may  be  found  where  no  difficulty  was  apprehended, 
I  will  not  take  upon  me  to  declare:  where  they  were  thought 
wholly  to  lie,  we  are  free  from  apprehension. 

My  sentiments  with  respect  to  the  foederal  Government,  are 
well  known,  publicly  and  privately  have  they  been  communi- 
cated without  reserve;  but  my  opinion  is,  that  there  is  more 
wickedness  than  ignorance  in  the  conduct  of  the  States,  or  in 
other  words,  in  the  conduct  of  those  who  have  too  much  in- 
fluence in  the  government  of  them;  and  until  the  curtain  is 
withdrawn,  and  the  private  views  and  selfish  principles  upon 
which  these  men  act,  are  exposed  to  public  notice,  I  have  little 
hope  of  amendment  without  another  convulsion.  The  picture 
of  our  Affairs  as  drawn  by  the  Committee,  approved  by  Con- 
gress and  handed  to  the  public,11  did  not  at  all  surprize  me: 

"See  Journals  of  the  Continental  Congress,  Mar.  28,  1785. 

1786]  A  HISTORY  403 

before  that  report,  tho'  I  could  not  go  into  the  minutiae  of  mat- 
ters, I  was  more  certain  of  the  agregate  of  our  12  than 
I  am  now  of  the  remedy  which  will  be  applied;  without  the 
latter  I  do  not  see  upon  what  ground  your  Agent  at  the  Court 
of  Morocco,  and  the  other  at  Algiers,  are  to  treat,  unless,  hav- 
ing to  do  with  new  hands,  they  mean  to  touch  the  old  string, 
and  make  them  dance  awhile  to  the  tune  of  promises. 

I  thank  you  for  the  pamphlet  which  contains  the  corre- 
spondence between  Mr.  Jay  and  Mr.  Littlepage;13  and  shall 
be  obliged  to  you  for  a  Gazette  containing  the  publication  of 
the  latter,  which  appears  to  have  given  rise  to  them.  I  am,  etc.14 


Mount  Vernon,  April  5, 1786. 

Sir:  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  best  acknowledgments  of  your 
letter  of  the  22d.  of  Feby.,  and  thanks  for  the  history  of  the 
Revolution  of  South  Carolina,15  with  which  you  have  been  so 
good  as  to  present  me.  From  what  I  have  heard  of  its  merits, 
I  anticipate  much  pleasure  in  the  perusal  of  the  work.